A whopping Rs. 13.40 crore was splurged on domestic players on day one of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) auction 2018. The surprise wasn’t that the 100-lakh mark was breached but the number of times it had and players who were bought in excess of 1 crore.
Haryana Steelers acquired the services of Monu Goyat at Rs. 1.51 crore, making him the most expensive player in PKL history.
As day one unfurled- PKL auction day 1: Goyat, Tomar, Devadiga, Chaudhari breach the 1-crore mark
U Mumba and Dabang Delhi were involved in a two-way tussle for Goyat’s services. The bid kept increasing with every passing second. Goyat had finished fourth (with 202 points) on the list of raid points won in season five, hence the money the franchises were willing to spend on the raider was understandable.
Steelers entered the bidding for Goyat after the bid breached the Rs. 1 crore mark. It tested the resolve of U Mumba and it finally captured its target with a winning bid of Rs. 1.51 crore.
"We knew he (Monu Goyat) would be expensive because of the demand for raiders in this league," said Haryana Steelers CEO, Mustafa Ghouse, post the auction. Mustafa added that the franchise would give him all the confidence to play at his best in the upcoming season and not let the price tag affect him.
ALSO READ: The most sought after players on the first day of PKL auctions
Later, Telugu Titans exercised its Final Bid Match (FBM) option to retain the services of 25-year-old Rahul Chaudhari, who had also been a subject of intense bidding between U Mumba and Dabang Delhi. He was acquired by the Telugu franchise for Rs 1.29 crore.
Rishank Devadiga was another domestic player whose services were retained via the FBM option by UP Yoddha for Rs 1.11 crore.
Earlier, Deepak Niwas Hooda, one of the five category A all-rounders, had become the most expensive player in the history of Pro Kabaddi League when Jaipur Pink Panthers shelled out Rs 1.15 crore for his services.
The bidding for Deepak, who has racked up 514 raid points in his PKL career, began at Rs. 30 lakh and, from a bid of Rs. 31 lakh Puneri Paltan entering the bidding with an astronomical figure of Rs. 70 lakh.
That set the stakes rolling and Delhi Dabang persevered with a series of high bids but withdrew from the war when the bid amount approached the Rs. 1 crore mark. Jaipur Pink Panthers was in the fray intermittently and also engaged Haryana Steelers in a head to head war. Abhishek Bachchan's franchise outbid Haryana’s last bid of Rs. 1.14 crore and it secured the services of Hooda for Rs. 1.15 crore.
ALSO READ: Iranian Fazel becomes costliest foreign player
The evening session, though, was only getting started with Jaipur’s purchase of Deepak.
Nitin Tomar, who, before the PKL season VI auction, had been the most expensive player in the competition’s history and surprisingly released by UP Yoddha, had franchises willing to pay a huge amount for his services. At one stage, one wondered if Jaipur Pink Panthers’ record bid amount of Rs. 1.15 crore for Deepak Niwas Hooda will be broken again. But, Puneri Paltan signed Nitin for the same bid amount to make him the joint-most expensive in PKL history.
Manjeet Chhillar was among a small set of players — Anup Kumar (bought by Jaipur Pink Panthers for Rs 30 lakh) and K. Prapanjan (bought by Gujarat Fortunegiants for Rs 38 lakh) were the others — who were bought for fairly lesser prices.
ALSO READ: Fortunegiants, U Mumba, Titans snap up three NYPs
Of the 25 Category A players, only Ravinder Pahal went unsold on day one. He will, however, be up for auction on day two, when Categories B, C and D will also be up for bidding.