The advent of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has brought many kabaddi players from across India into prominence and revolutionised one of India’s most enjoyable indigenous sports. The demand for players by teams in every PKL auction has been a testament to the rising popularity of kabaddi.
The last three PKL seasons, in particular, have witnessed franchises putting in massive bids to secure the services of their targets with as many as eight players touching the crore mark.
Iranian defender Fazel Atrachali was the first player in PKL history to cross the 1 crore mark when he was bought by U Mumba ahead of Season 6. In all, 10 kabaddi players have been bought for over the 1 crore mark in PKL since then.
Most expensive player in PKL history: All-time list
- Pardeep Narwal to U.P. Yoddha - INR 1.65 crore - Season 8
- Monu Goyat to Haryana Steelers - INR 1.51 crore - Season 6
- Siddharth Desai to Telugu Titans - INR 1.45 crore - Season 7
- Siddharth Desai to Telugu Titans - INR 1.30 crore - Season 8
- Rahul Chaudhari to Telugu Titans - INR 1.29 crore - Season 6
- Nitin Tomar to Puneri Paltan - INR 1.20 crore - Season 7
- Deepak Hooda to Jaipur Pink Panthers - INR 1.15 crore - Season 6
- Nitin Tomar to Puneri Paltan - INR 1.15 crore - Season 6
- Rishank Devadiga to U.P. Yoddha - INR 1.11 crore - Season 6
- Fazel Atrachali to U Mumba - INR 1 crore - Season 6
However, long before PKL’s crore club was formed, franchises were spending big in the player auction even when the league was still in a relatively nascent stage. Here we look back at Pro Kabaddi’s most expensive players following the auctions from each season. While there were no auctions ahead of Season 2 and 3 of PKL, the rest of the editions saw franchises splash the cash in their bid to secure the top players.
Most expensive PKL players: By each season
Season 1: Rakesh Kumar to Patna Pirates - INR 12.80 lakh
Rakesh Kumar was the most expensive player in the inaugural auction. The all-rounder was bought for INR 12.80 lakh by Patna Pirates.
The Pirates managed to reach the semi-final of the competition in that season despite Rakesh featuring in only four matches and notching just 17 points overall.
Season 4: Mohit Chhillar to Bengaluru Bulls - INR 53 lakh
During the Season 4 auction, Mohit Chhillar was bought by Bengaluru Bulls for INR 53 lakh, which was four times his base price.
Mohit Chhillar scored 47 tackle points that season and finished as the third-best defender in the league. The Bulls, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the playoffs, finishing sixth in the standings.
Season 5: Nitin Tomar to U.P. Yoddha - INR 93 lakh
Nitin Tomar was bought for INR 93 lakh by UP Yoddha in the franchise’s first PKL season. He is amongst Pro Kabaddi’s most expensive players having gone on to attract bids worth over a crore on more than one occasion after his Season 5 exploits.
Tomar had a dream season with UP Yoddha in the fifth edition of PKL, scoring 167 raid points in 20 games. The team made it to the playoffs but were knocked out in the eliminator match.
Season 6: Monu Goyat to Haryana Steelers - INR 1.51 crore
PKL’s Season 6 auctions saw Haryana Steelers secure the services of star raider Monu Goyat for INR 1.51 crore. Monu leads the list of Pro Kabaddi’s most expensive players following his move to Haryana.
A PKL title winner with Patna Pirates, he notched 160 raid points for Haryana in Season 6 before moving to UP Yoddha ahead of the seventh edition. Haryana Steelers finished bottom of the Zone A standings in Season 6.
Season 7: Siddharth Desai to Telugu Titans - INR 1.45 crore
Siddharth Desai was bought by Telugu Titans in the PKL 7 auction. He had an impressive debut season with U Mumba, scoring 218 raid points. His debut PKL campaign convinced Telugu Titans to buy Siddharth ‘Bahubali’ Desai for a whopping INR 1.45 crore, which accounted for almost 33 per cent of their budget.
He finished Season 7 with 217 raid points and is currently second on the list of Pro Kabaddi’s expensive players’ list. Telugu Titans, meanwhile, finished their campaign in 11th place in the 12-team league.
Season 8: Pardeep Narwal to U.P. Yoddha - INR 1.65 crore
UP Yoddha spent a whopping INR 1.65 crore to rope in star raider Pardeeep Narwal for season 8 of Pro Kabaddi. The franchise had a tough bidding war with Telugu Titans but ultimately acquired his services after Patna Pirates - Narwal's former team - decided not to use the Final Bid Match (FBM) card to buy him back.
Featured Photo: Pro Kabaddi League