Sardar, Raghunath Stars of Hockey India League Auctions

India captain Sardar Singh became the highest-paid marquee player at the inaugural Hockey India League auctions as the Delhi franchise bought him for USD 78,000 (Rs 42.49 lakh), while drag-flicker VR Raghunath also grabbed quite a few eyeballs with an intense bidding war for him here today.

Raghunath was eventually bought by Sahara Uttar Pradesh Wizards for USD 76,000 (Rs 41.40 lakh) after a lot of drama. British midfielder

The only Briton in the auction Ashley Jackson was another big gainer as he will go home with a purse of USD 73,000 --- a good buy for the Ranchi Rhinos.

Such was the bidding war for Raghunath between UP Wizards and Delhi Waveriders that his ultimate sale price turned out to be USD 10,000 more than UP franchise's marquee player Teun de Nooijer, who was bought for USD 66,000 (Rs 35.93 lakh).

As per rules, a marquee player will get 15 percent more than the highest-paid player of the team and thus Raghunath's price would fetch more for De Nooijer. Interestingly, Raghunath's base price was only USD 13,900 (Rs 7.56 lakh).

But Raghunath's senior teammate Sandeep Singh had an embarrassing day as he was merely paid his base price of USD 27,800 (Rs 15.13 lakh) by Mumbai team.

The other highlight was young defender Rupinder Pal Singh fetching USD 56,000 (Rs 30.48 lakh) from Delhi after starting with a modest base price of USD 9,250 (Rs 5.03 lakh) in an interesting bidding war that surprised one and all.

"I am extremely delighted that I have been able to command a good price. I wasn't aware about my price as I was a bit late in coming. By the time I reached here, I was already sold," Sardar said with a smile of contentment after being snapped by Delhi Waveriders.

Will the India captain and his teammates pull each other's leg about their respective prices, Sardar replied, "Certainly. All of us won't let go a chance to indulge into leg-pulling sessions. Already the facebook is filled with updates."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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