The PKL Auction 2021 had lots of surprises and intense bidding wars for the three days of the event. All the 12 teams splurged ₹48.22 crores in total to sign over 190 players by the end of the auction.
The auction witnessed the 'Record-breaker' Pardeep Narwal for the first time in history. Pardeep added another feather to his cap of records by becoming the costliest player in the history of the PKL Auction. He was sold to the UP Yoddha at a whopping ₹1.65 crores.
Siddharth Desai also fetched another fat paycheck this year for a second consecutive season after the Telugu Titans exercised their FBM card to retain his services for ₹1.30 crores. The 'Bahubali' was the most expensive player of the PKL 7 auction when the Titans had raised the paddle at ₹1.45 crores.
The PKL is a platform for budding youngsters to get the opportunity to come forward and showcase their abilities on the big stage. Those who perform well in the domestic circuit get signed by the teams at a decent sum based on their terrific performances.
On that note, we look at the three debutants who attracted the most bids and ended up being the costliest picks at PKL Auction 2021:
#3 Rathan K (Sold to Gujarat Giants for ₹25 lakh)
The Gujarat Giants were in the hunt to sign a plethora of youngsters to their raiding department at the PKL Auction 2021. They signed Karnataka's emerging raider Rathan K for ₹25 lakhs, who has done remarkably well in the domestic circuit for his home state.
The 26-year-old led Kartanaka's raiding unit upfront in the 68th Senior National Kabaddi Championship. He scored 55 raid points in the tournament, which was the fifth-highest in the tally. Rathan was just a point shy of Indian Railways sensation Pawan Sehrawat (56 raid points).
Having played with the likes of Prashanth Kumar Rai, Jeeva Kumar and Sukesh Hegde, Rathan K is an upcoming superstar. He can be an asset to a side like Gujarat Giants, who are known to give the limelight to youngsters under their head coach Manpreet Singh.
#2 Mohammad Reza Shadloui Chiyaneh (Sold to Patna Pirates for ₹31 lakh)
Mohammad Reza Shadloui Chiyaneh sparked a bidding war from the overseas list on the inaugural day of the PKL Auction 2021. Three-time champion Patna Piratesa Pirates went all out to sign the Iranian youngster for ₹31 lakhs.
Shadloui is an excellent all-rounder who has played for Iran at the 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters tournament. He primarily plays in the left corner and is known for his body blocks, waist holds, and dives that completely topple the opposition raiders. Shadloui also played the role of a vital cog in the defense for gold-winners Iran at the 2019 Junior Kabaddi World Championships.
The Patna Pirates are willing to test a new defense for the upcoming eighth edition of the PKL. It will be a perfect opportunity for the Iranian prodigy to make a statement in his debut season in the PKL.
#1 Rinku Sharma (Sold to U Mumba for ₹32 lakh)
U Mumba had only purchased a single player in the first two days of the PKL Auction 2021. On the third day, they engaged heavily in bidding wars with other franchises. They signed the 20-year-old Rinku Sharma at a massive amount of INR 32 lakhs. Rinku ended up becoming U Mumba's most expensive purchase at this year's PKL Auction.
Chandigarh-based Rinku Sharma has been a phenomenal defender on the domestic circuit. He was adjudged the best defender at the Khelo India University Games 2020 for Guru Nanak Dev University (Amritsar). The right corner also led Haryana to win the gold medal at the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 in the Under-21 category.
Rinku Sharma is known for his lethal ankle holds and dives, which he uses to dismantle opposition raiders with proper execution. He has been a mainstay for Chandigarh in the 67th and 68th Senior Nationals and has represented the state at the Junior level as well.
U Mumba's corner defense comprises a perfect blend of youth and experience with Rinku and Fazel Atrachali, respectively. Their combination will be interesting to watch in the upcoming season of PKL.