NEW DELHI: The seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which is modelled on the popular IPL T20 tournament, saw record biddings with franchises shelling out upwards of Rs1 crore for players.
During the two-day auction held in Mumbai from 8 to 9 April, the 12 franchises participating in the league spent over ₹50 crore to buy 200 players, including two entering the Rs1-crore club. The auction money spent went up by around ₹5 crore from last year.
A total of 173 domestic players and 27 international players will be part of the 13-weeks long league which will be held between 19 July and 9 October. Telugu Titans, Bengal Warriors and U Mumba were the top three spenders in the PKL auction.
Telugu Titans picked up raider Siddharth Desai for Rs1.45 crore making him the most expensive player of this season. Raider Nitin Tomar went under the hammer for ₹1.20 crore and was retained by Puneri Paltan. These were the only two players which managed to enter the one crore club this season.
Among the top domestic five bids, Rahul Chaudhari was picked up by Tamil Thalaivas for Rs94 lakhs, Monu Goyat was sold to UP Yoddha for Rs93 lakhs while Sandeep Narwal was bought by U Mumba for Rs89 lakhs.
The Iranians dominated the top overseas players’ list with Bengal Warriors picking up Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh for ₹77.75 lakhs, making him the highest-valued international player. Iran’s Abozar Mohajermighani, sold for Rs75 lakhs to Telugu Titans, emerged as the second most expensive international player. Meanwhile, Patna Pirates picked up Korea’s Jang Kun Lee for Rs40lakhs and Iran’s Mohammed Esmaeil Maghsodhu for Rs35 lakhs. Korea’s Dong Geon Lee is the fifth most expensive international player sold to U Mumba for Rs25 lakh.
Unlike 2018 auctions where six players made it to the one crore club, only two players fetched over one crore in bids this year. Meanwhile, as compare to three players in the ₹70 – ₹99 lakh bracket last year, this season 10 players made it to this bracket. Meanwhile, a total of 27 players were retained by teams signifying the importance of squad continuity and long-term association of players with their respective teams.
A total of 441 players went under the hammer in the recently-concluded auction. Of these 53 were overseas players and 388 were domestic. Meanwhile, out of 72 new young players (NYP) that participated in the bidding process under the Future Kabaddi Heroes Programme (FKH), 12 were picked up by the franchises. FKH is a nationwide talent scouting platform. Each team can have 18-25 players, including three players from the FKH, and between two and four overseas players. Each team has a salary purse of Rs4.4 crore.
Anupam Goswami, chief executive Mashal Sports and league commissioner Pro Kabaddi said, “The end of the Pro Kabaddi Season VII player auction marks yet another remarkable moment for Kabaddi as a sport. The squads look competitive for the upcoming season which will pave the way for an exciting season. The bidding strategies displayed by each Franchise stand testament to the evolution of the sport and the league. The teams look well-balanced and are a mix of young and experienced players. I look forward to Pro Kabaddi Season VII being an exciting event for all our fans, sponsors and teams."