The Pro Kabaddi Season 8 auction saw most teams splurge big money on players to build a strong side for the upcoming PKL season. While a few teams went all-out in the auction, some invested heavily in retaining their star-studded players. Seven of the 12 franchises ended up spending more than INR 4 crore in the auction. Amongst them, Jaipur Pink Panthers and Telugu Titans boast the most expensive squads with both franchises spending INR 4.22 crore each at the auction.
On that note, we look at some of the most expensive squads in Pro Kabaddi Season 8.
Jaipur Pink Panthers - INR 4.22 crore
Despite retaining as many as seven players ahead of the Season 8 auction, Jaipur Pink Panthers spent almost 30 percent of their auction purse to acquire Arjun Deshwal for INR 96 lakh - almost five times his base price of INR 20 lakh. The Season 1 champions also successfully bought back their former players Deepak Hooda and Sandeep Dhull for INR 55 lakh and INR 45 lakh respectively as they spent a whopping INR 4.22 crore during the player auction.
Telugu Titans - INR 4.22 crore
After failing to make it to the knockouts in the last three seasons, Telugu Titans came into the Pro Kabaddi Season 8 auction looking to build their team around youngsters. In Siddharth Desai, the Hyderabad franchise spent close to 35 percent of their auction purse to re-sign the talismanic raider for INR 1.30 crore. At INR 1.30 crore, Siddharth Desai is the second-most costliest player in Pro Kabaddi history after Pardeep Narwal. Telugu Titans also stacked their defence with Season 2 star Sandeep Kandola and ex-U Mumba defender Surender Singh for INR 59.50 lakh and 55 lakh respectively.
Bengal Warriors - INR 4.20 crore
Bengal Warriors are the second-most costliest team in Pro Kabaddi Season 8. After retaining their expensive core group of Maninder Singh, Mohammad Nabibakhsh and Rinku Narwal ahead of the auction, Bengal Warriors made a few more eye-catching additions to their settled lineup including right-corner defender Abozar Mighani for INR 30.50 lakh and experienced raider Sukesh Hegde for INR 30 lakh. Bengal Warriors ended up spending a total of INR 4.20 crore at the end of the three-day auction process.
U.P. Yoddha - INR 4.12 crore
U.P. Yoddha set the auctions on fire by signing one of the most prolific raiders in Pro Kabaddi history for a record-breaking fee. At INR 1.65 crore, U.P. Yoddha signed Pardeep Narwal as the costliest buy in league history. Coming into the auction with a purse of INR 3.61 crore, the U.P. franchise pocketed Pardeep after shelling out 45 percent of their auction purse. Besides Pardeep, the franchise managed to sign Shrikant Jadhav for INR 72 lakh.
Gujarat Giants - INR 4.06 crore
Gujarat Giants spent INR 4.06 crore in the Pro Kabaddi Season 8 auctions. The Manpreet Singh-coached side signed Ravinder Pahal for INR 74 lakh to add to their defensive setup led by Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal. Gujarat also managed to secure the services of rookie raider Rathan K. from Karnataka for INR 25 lakh besides picking Iranian Hadi Oshtorak and defender Girish Ernak for INR 20 lakhs each. Overall, Gujarat spent more than 50 percent of their auction purse on defenders alone.
Bengaluru Bulls - INR 4.05 crore
Coming into the auction with a purse of INR 2.89 crore, Bengaluru Bulls bagged raider Chandran Ranjit for a huge sum of INR 80 lakh after already retaining the high-flying Pawan Sehrawat ahead of the auction. Deepak Narwal for INR 26.50 lakh and GB More for INR 25 lakh were the other two big buys for the franchise. Bengaluru Bulls spent INR 4.05 crore of their allocated purse to finish amongst the most expensive teams in this year’s auction.
Puneri Paltan - INR 4.03 crores
Puneri Paltan are one of the strongest teams on paper this year with a perfect blend of experience and youth. Spending a sum of INR 4.03, the Anup Kumar-coached side made some smart picks in the auction by signing defenders Baldev Singh and Vishal Bhardwaj for INR 60 lakh each before showing their faith in the Showman, Rahul Chaudhari, who was bought for INR 40 lakh. Puneri Paltan also managed to get back Nitin Tomar for INR 61 lakh by using the Final Bid Match (FBM) Card for the raider.
Author: Kaustubh Potdar
Featured photo: PKL / Website