The past seven seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) have witnessed some surprising releases by teams ahead of the auctions. Most recently, it was Pardeep Narwal’s release by three-time PKL champions Patna Pirates ahead of PKL 8 that shocked fans and pundits alike.
Aging players, underwhelming performances and salary purses are just some of the reasons behind surprising player releases and here’s a list of a few shock releases by franchises over the years.
Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans to Tamil Thalaivas)
Rahul Chaudhari parting ways with Telugu Titans ahead of Season 7 was one of the most surprising releases in the history of PKL. A top point scorer (150) in Season 4, the UP-born Chaudhari rose through the ranks with the Titans, establishing himself as one of the poster boys of PKL.
Rahul scored over 850 points in his career for the Hyderabad franchise and helped them reach the semi-finals twice in Seasons 2 and 4. However, he did not have the best of displays by his standards in his first season for Tamil Thalaivas, scoring just 138 points across 22 games.
Siddharth Desai (U Mumba to Telugu Titans)
Siddharth Desai’s release by U Mumba ahead of the Season 7 auction raised a few eyebrows within kabaddi circles. The 6 ft. 2-inch raider had a fantastic debut season with U Mumba scoring 221 points across 21 matches to finish the league as the third-best raider.
Desai, one of the emerging stars of PKL 6 was a menace on the court for opposition defences, scoring 10.38 points per match on average. The towering raider continued his stellar form with Telugu Titans and ended Season 7 as their top raider with 220 points. He was the lone bright spark in what was an otherwise disappointing season for Telugu Titans.
Rohit Kumar (Patna Pirates to Bengaluru Bulls)
Soon after winning their maiden PKL title, Patna Pirates shocked kabaddi enthusiasts by releasing star raider and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the league at the time, Rohit Kumar ahead of the Season 4 auction. Rohit and Pardeep were the ace raiders for the PKL 3 champions, scoring the bulk of the raid points for the team.
In the end, Rohit’s absence did not count for much as Pardeep rose to the challenge and didn’t allow the Pirates to feel his absence thanks to some spectacular performances. Bengaluru Bulls, meanwhile, benefitted largely from Rohit’s addition as he was their top raider for the next two seasons with a total of 100 and 231 points respectively.
Deepak Hooda (Puneri Paltan to Jaipur Pink Panthers)
All-rounder Deepak Hooda’s release by Puneri Paltan was a big move that caught kabaddi enthusiasts off guard ahead of Season 6. Deepak was the leading raider for Puneri Paltan in PKL 5 and had led them to second position in the Zone A standings that season.
However, ever since Deepak Hooda was allowed to join Jaipur Pink Panthers from the Maharashtra-based franchise, Puneri Paltan have failed to reach the knock-out stages. Deepak hasn’t enjoyed the best of fortunes since his move to Jaipur Pink Panthers either with the all-rounder failing to lead his team into the playoffs despite performing well himself as 208 and 158 points in his two campaigns with the pink franchise demonstrates.
Monu Goyat (Patna Pirates to Haryana Steelers)
Monu Goyat was one of the key players for the Patna Pirates team that won their third consecutive PKL title in 2017. He along with Pardeep Narwal scored a whopping 560 raid points between them and were instrumental to the team’s title charge that season.
However, despite his stellar performance in a supporting role for Pardeep, Patna Pirates chose to release him for PKL 6. The void left by Monu’s departure is yet to be filled by Patna Pirates as was visible last season. After joining Haryana from Patna Pirates for Season 6, Monu went on to score 164 points for the Steelers in his only season with the franchise.
Featured Photo: Pro Kabaddi League / Website