Mumbai table tennis player Nishad Shah, who shifted to Delhi three years ago, is all set to return to the city as the costliest player in the third edition of the franchise-based Mumbai Super League (MSL). The 10-team competition, with each team comprising six players, will be played at the NSCI from June 8 to 11 and offers a top team prize of Rs 1.8 lakh.
Nishad, who had a base price of Rs 14,500, was picked up by MTC Royals for Rs 38,000 at the player auction at the NSCI Stadium in Worli yesterday. Interestingly, another franchise, Kool Smashers, retained former national champion Sanil Shetty for Rs 37275, while 20-year-old Nishad, who has previously represented India internationally as a junior in U-15, U-18 and U-21, and Maharashtra at the Nationals, is yet to bag a senior title.
Nishad admitted that the amount he bagged at the auction was beyond his expectations. "I was telling a friend yesterday that I don't think I'll get more than Rs 20000 as the team owners might not know me well because I've been in Delhi for the last few years and mostly played junior international tournaments," Nishad told mid-day over the phone from the capital yesterday. He moved to Delhi in 2014 to pursue his B-Com Honours at Sri Ram College of Commerce and also excelled for the Delhi State Table Tennis Association (DSTTA). He helped them win bronze at the Junior and Youth table tennis nationals in Baroda last year. He also won gold while leading the Delhi University at the All India Inter University championships.
However, money is not all that matters for this promising paddler. "Apart from money, the exposure and experience of playing in this tournament will be completely different. It's a really good initiative and that's one of the reasons I am returning to Mumbai for this tournament," added Nishad.
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