Kartikay Dutta, Undergraduate Batch of 2023 Close to nine months since they last lined up in
Anushka Bidani, Undergraduate 2022
The ACSS auction was like a big, fat Punjabi wedding: bearded men were strutting around in kurtas and ill-fitting suits, while money was being thrown like confetti at the show on the stage. The auctioneer, Dhrupad Damani, constantly reiterated that “It’s fake money guys, you can bet whatever you want and I’m only asking for one million, c’mon.” The owners, in traditional Punjabi fashion, lamented that they only had a million bucks to spend on a total of 11 players wherein it was compulsory to have at least one female player. The players were divided into categories of four tiers and one wild-card section, and the base bidding price was set accordingly. Tier 1 players had a base price of 10 million, following which it fell down to 7 million, 5 million, 3 million and 1 million respectively.
The bidding started off on a high note with Rishabh Chawda being sold to the Mylapore Machas for 13 million. Closely following this, the Old Monks and Studs Cricket tried to outbid each other over tier 3 player Kritin Deb, who finally went for a whopping 21 million to the Old Monks. Kartikeya Pradhan incited the Sons of Pitches, Haryana Hurricanes and Chakravyuh to potentially lighten their coffers, with him finally being sold to Sons of Pitches for an astounding 40 million. Tier 1 player Raj Tempie was quirkily introduced by Dhrupad as “Ticking Boxes everywhere, but Pawsitive.” He positively went to the Haryana Hurricanes for 34 million fake money. From out here, the team owners started lightening up their pockets. Anantaajith Ra, who the auctioneer referred to as “Mohammad Shami on and off the field” was a rage, and finally went for a mind-blowing 50 million to the Old Monks. He was followed by Yojasvadeep Chauhan who became the second highest selling player of the night at a massive total of 85 million to Chakravyuh. At this moment in the auction, Chakravyuh had spent 119 million on only three players: Chauhan, Alika Tandon Vieira at 10 million and Yashraj Gupta at 24 million. Following them, the highest bid of the night came by the Asawarpur Stallions, who bought their first player Bharath Srinivasan at the grand sum of a 100 million, which meant following this, they only had 50 million to be spent on 10 players. Post this, tier 2 player Nidhi Tiwary became the highest selling female player of the night, bought by the Sons of Pitches at a grand sum of 32 million. Tier 2 player Kaushal Dongre also went to the Sons of Pitches for 45 million. Tier 1 player Pratik Apshinge went to Vanar Sena for 20 million. Tier 2 player Radha Gupta became the second highest selling female player by being sold at 22 million to the Haryana Hurricanes. Tier 1 player Saaransh Mishra was bought by the Studs Cricket for 55 million, and became the third highest selling player of the auction. As the auctioneer had said: fake money. Following this, Chakravyuh spent 19 million on tier 2 player Sameer Rana and the base price of 1 million on wild-card player Harpreet Virk; at this point, they were left with 11 million, and 6 players to complete their order. Drishti Bagla became the third highest selling female player of the night at 11 million to the Old Monks. Tier 2 player Aditya Singh incited a bidding match between the Studs Cricket and Sons of Pitches, with the Sons of Pitches finally availing him at 8 million. Tier 3 player Dhruv Khandelwal witnessed a similar fate, with the Studs Cricket finally outbidding the Sons of Pitches for him at 6 million.
With the 8 teams having chosen their playing-11, all that’s left to be witnessed is the tournament itself. If there was one guarantee to take away, it would be that we are in for a wild, wild ride.