The highlight of the auction was talismanic raider Pardeep Narwal smashing the all-time record after he was bought by UP Yoddha for a whopping sum of INR 1.65 Cr. Siddharth Desai was retained by the Telugu Titans via the Final Bid Match (FBM) card for INR 1.30 Cr. Veteran raider Rahul Chaudhari finds himself a new home with the Puneri Paltan for Season 8, scheduled to take place in December 2021.
Tamil Thalaivas successfully bid for raider Manjeet who joins them from Puneri Paltan for INR 92 Lakhs. Rohit Gulia, the all-rounder from Category A, grabbed eyeballs after he was sold to Haryana Steelers for INR 83 Lakhs, a significant jump from his INR 25 Lakhs price tag with Gujarat Giants in Season 7. He created history, commanding the highest-ever auction price for a Future Kabaddi Heroes (FKH) athlete. Some other big buys included Sachin (Patna Pirates) for INR 84 Lakhs and Chandran Ranjit (Bengaluru Bulls) for INR 80 Lakhs.
JPP snap Arjun
A stand-out from Category B was the purchase of raider, Arjun Deshwal. Jaipur Pink Panthers acted swiftly – putting in a quick & successful bid of INR 96 Lakhs; marking the most expensive purchase of a Category B player this year.
Puneri Paltan successfully retained raider Nitin Tomar, via use of an FBM card, for 61 Lakhs. All-rounder Sandeep Narwal was snapped up by Dabang Delhi KC for INR 60 Lakhs. The Delhi franchise also spent big bucks on defender Jeeva Kumar, who attracted a bid of INR 44 Lakhs. Veteran raider Ajay Thakur also found himself a new home with Dabang Delhi KC, who bought the former India captain for INR 46 Lakhs.
Iranians in demand, representation from Japan
The VIVO PKL’s international footprint was brought to the fore with over 22 overseas players sold on Day 2. Iranian all-rounder Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh was the most expensive foreign signing as three-time champions Patna Pirates secured his services for INR 31 Lakhs. Patna Pirates also used one of its two available FBM cards to retain Republic of Korea’s raider Jang Kun Lee for INR 20.5 Lakhs. Iranians were in high demand as defending champions, Bengal Warriors bought defender Abozar Mohajermighani for INR 30.5 Lakhs. Season 8 will also see representation from Japan as Telugu Titans acquired the services of defender Tetsuro Abe for INR 10 Lakhs.
Teams spend big bucks on Category C players
Among the Category C players, Sandeep Kandola emerged as the highest bid attracting an astounding bid of INR 59.5 Lakhs from the Telugu Titans. Puneri Paltan also spent some big bucks in this category as they bought Sombir for INR 34.5 Lakhs. U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers spent INR 32L and INR 20 Lakhs on Rinku Narwal and Amit respectively.
NYPs at the auction
A total of 10 New Young Players (NYP) were picked up by franchisees at the auction. Some of the names include Mohit Goyat (Puneri Paltan), Govind Gurjar (Puneri Paltan), Prince (Telugu Titans) and Nitin Panwar (UP Yoddha). NYPs are uncapped players who have been drafted into the auction pool through Mashal Sports’ Future Kabaddi Heroes (FKH) programme.
Speaking on behalf of Mashal Sports, League Commissioner, Anupam Goswami said, “I would like to thank all stakeholders for a successful player auction. PKL Season 8 will witness a renewed vigor as all teams seem well balanced and the players will be eager to take on the mat in December. It will attract the return of sponsors who have associated and affirmed in our franchises and media partners and have been an intrinsic part of the aspirational appeal of PKL. We also look forward to new categories of sponsors discovering exciting value proposition in associating with PKL Teams as well as our media partners.”
Talking about a successful auction and a squad that is competitive and balanced, Telugu Titans owner Srinivas Sreeramaneni said,“We always wanted Siddharth Desai, as the team is centred around him – we wanted one powerful raider, we have always done that, previously with Rahul and now with Siddharth. We also wanted an experienced raider – Rohit has captained before and won two championships: Patna and Bengaluru. He can lead the team and the pace.”
Speaking about the purchase of ‘Record Breaker’ Pardeep Narwal, UP Yoddha coach Jasvir Singh said, “We were determined to bring in a marquee raider. With Siddharth and Pardeep in the auction pool, our focus was on them – keeping the team combination in mind. Whatever we planned, we have executed and got the right players we wanted.”
On being picked by Jaipur Pink Panthers, Arjun Deshwal said, “I can’t express my happiness in words after I heard the amount that I was being auctioned for. I come from a small village called Basera in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. I’ve struggled and worked hard for this all my life. The support I received from my family and my guruji, Dharmendra Kumar, is constant. This time I’ll be given the opportunity to play for the Jaipur Pink Panthers and I’m really excited to start this journey.”
Star raider of the player auction Pardeep Narwal spoke about being sold to UP Yoddha for INR 1.65 Cr – the highest-ever, “I never expected to be the highest paid player sold in the PKL Season 8 auction – it has been a memorable five seasons with Patna Pirates, and now I am looking forward to representing UP Yoddha this season. I would like to thank the UP Yoddha management and I’m ready to take on season 8 with a renewed spirit.”
Second-time in a row, Siddharth Desai who crossed the 1 Cr mark, said, “Telugu Titans is home to me, and I’m glad to be back to where I belong. Our coach Jagdish knows my fitness levels and mindset very well, he understands my game and that will help me perform better. Telugu Titans have built a great squad – It will be a different experience to raid with Rohit Kumar, I am looking forward to learning from him and making my game even more challenging for the opponents.”