The PKL Auction 2021 came to a conclusion after three days of intense strategizing and bidding wars. The event, held at a luxury hotel in the city of Mumbai, saw representatives from all the franchises assemble.
12 PKL franchises got their think tanks to put their heads together and build their roster for the upcoming PKL Season 8. Over the three eventful days, we saw some of the most talented players going under the hammer. There were a few well-known faces like Pardeep Narwal, Siddharth Sirish Desai, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Rishank Devadiga getting picked up by the teams. Some players were not as fortunate as them and went unsold in the PKL Auction 2021.
With former Patna Pirates raider Pardeep Narwal featuring for the first time in a PKL auction, the stage was set for a blockbuster bidding war. The Uttar Pradesh-based UP Yoddha franchise went all out for the feisty raider and signed him for a price of ₹1.65 crore. The winning bid by UP Yoddha broke the previous record held by Monu Goyat, who was signed by the Haryana Steelers for 1.52 crore ahead of PKL Season 6.
We take a look at the starting seven comprising of the most expensive players from PKL Auction 2021.
Most Expensive Starting 7 after PKL Auction 2021
Leading Raider - Pardeep Narwal
Pardeep 'Record Breaker' Narwal is now the holder of yet another envious record having become the costliest player in PKL history. UP Yoddha broke the bank for him by shelling out 1.65 crore, getting the most successful raider in the league into their ranks. Over the course of his PKL career spanning six seasons, Pardeep Narwal has amassed a mammoth 1160 raid points with 53 Super Raids and 59 Super 10s.
Second Raider - Siddharth Sirish Desai
The only raider other than Pardeep Narwal who breached the 1 crore-mark in PKL Auction 2021 was Siddharth Sirish Desai. The former U Mumba man made an instant impact back in PKL Season 6 when he scored a Super 10 in is debut match. He went on to have a breakout season for U Mumba, scoring 218 raid points in 21 matches.
Siddharth Desai followed up that productive season with another one with 217 raid points. Telugu Titans decided to use the FBM card for their raider after he had attracted a bid of 1.3 crores at PKL Auction 2021.
Third Raider - Arjun Deshwal
Every year, the auction throws up at least one surprise and Arjun Deshwal going for 96 lakh to the Jaipur Pink Panthers is surely one. Deshwal had a decent last season partnering up with Abhishek Singh, as the pair led U Mumba all the way to the PKL Season 7 playoffs.
However, the sum of 96 lakh does seem a lot for a relatively inexperienced raider. Deshwal will team up with the likes of Deepak Niwas Hooda, Nitin Rawal and youngsters like Sushil Gulia and Sachin Narwal in the Panthers' raiding unit.
Right Cover - PO Surjeet Singh
PO Surjeet Singh has been one of the most consistently performing defenders in the history of the Pro Kabaddi League. With 278 tackle points in 94 PKL matches, he is ranked the fifth most successful defender in league history.
Surjeet played for the Puneri Paltan in PKL Season 7 and scored a total of 63 tackle points in 21 matches, averaging a healthy 3 tackle points per match. Tamil Thalaivas are known to covet experienced players in their auction strategy and this was no different.
Left Cover - Mahender Singh
Bengaluru Bulls' burly defender Mahender Singh was picked up by PKL Season 6 champions with the Final Bid Match (FBM) card. Left cover Mahender has one of the most deadly dashes and block tackles in the PKL. The Bulls will hope he continues his form with the tackle points from the last three seasons.
Mahender Singh has consistently scored more than 55 tackle points in each of the past three seasons. At 50 lakh, he may be the most expensive left corner in the auction but the Bulls' management will hope it proves to be a bargain buy.
Right Corner - Ravinder Pahal
Ravinder Pahal, a longtime PKL veteran, continues to dominate the auction proceedings and fetched 74 lakh from the Gujarat Fortunegiants. Pahal is one of the top scoring defenders in the history of the PKL, with 326 points from 112 matches.
After a successful season with PKL Season 7 finalists Dabang Delhi KC, Pahal will now don the Gujarat Giants jersey. Head coach Maninder Singh will hope the 'Hawk' preys upon all the raiders across the league.
Left Corner - Vishal Bhardwaj
One of the biggest surprises in the build-up to the PKL Auction 2021 was the fact that the Telugu Titans did not retain Vishal Bhardwaj. The youngster from Himachal has been one of the most productive left corner defenders in the PKL with consistent performers over the last three seasons.
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Due to his solid outings over the recent seasons, Bhardwaj was signed by Puneri Paltan for a hefty sum of 60 lakh. He will partner with his home state teammate Baldev Singh to form one of the strongest corner duos in the PKL.
Check out the Pro Kabaddi schedule for season 8 here.