PKL auction: Nitin Tomar becomes highest paid player

With some of the biggest names through the previous four seasons, both Indian and foreign, being either retained or picked as priority players by the four new franchises, it was a matter of using the remaining amount in the most effective way.

The 22-year old raider (centre), previously with Puneri Paltan, not just became the highest-bid player ever but also became the most expensive player in the brief history of the PKL.   -  Vivek Bendre

Nitin Tomar broke all previous records for the Pro Kabaddi League, going for a whopping 93 lakhs at the Season Five auctions here on Monday.

The 22-year old raider, previously with Puneri Paltan, not just became the highest-bid player ever but also became the most expensive player in the brief history of the PKL. Coming up at the fag end of the first day of auctions, Tomar comprehensively beat experienced Manjeet Chhillar who, till then, was the highest-bid player ever, attracting interest from every team present before being picked up by Jaipur Pink Panthers for 75.50 lakhs as the teams splurged on all-rounders.

A member of the World Cup winning Indian side last year, the Services player triggered a furious bidding war between UP and Telugu Titans before the former snared him. With some of the biggest names through the previous four seasons, both Indian and foreign, being either retained or picked as priority players by the four new franchises, it was a matter of using the remaining amount in the most effective way and going for all-rounders was perhaps the teams' way of ensuring value for their money, each team having a maximum purse of Rs four crores.

Tomar's price was almost double that of Mohit Chhillar's 53 lakh bid last season. Mohit, incidentally, took a pay cut of 6.5 lakhs this year, going to newcomer Haryana for 43.50 lakhs. The second-highest bid was for raider Rohit Kumar, who went for 81 lakhs back to Bengaluru Bulls, who had released him for the auction, under controversial circumstances as Patna Pirates claimed they had put up a higher bid even as auctioneer Bob Hayton claimed he hadn't spotted the bid. Rohit's bid started at 50 lakhs, up from his base price of 20 lakhs.

The experienced 30-year old Manjeet, who captained Bengaluru in the first two seasons and then led Puneri Paltan in the next two, said he was fairly confident of going for a high price and expressed confidence that he would be able to help his team reach the play-offs this time around, saying individual points were less important than the team's performance.

However, the only player to score over 50 tackle points in two different seasons of the PKL quipped he would be happy not being captain, since it would reduce pressure on him. Asked to name one player he would have liked to have on his team, he said, "I wanted Rakesh (Kumar) in my team." Former India captain Rakesh went to the Telugu Titans for Rs 45 lakhs.

Close behind was Surjeet Singh, who went for 73 lakhs to Bengal Warriors who had retained their Korean raider Jang Kun Lee. His price, after adjusting the 10% increment over the highest-bid player for the team, was 80.30 lakhs, making him the most expensive foreign player of the PKL. Among the foreign players, only 11 of the 60 in the fray were bid for, most of them being, not surprisingly, Iranians, five of whom were picked up.

Abozar Mohajermighani was the most expensive of overseas players, picked up for 50 lakhs by Gujarat. Two each were picked up from Korea and Bangladesh while Japan and Thailand had one player each. There were no buyers for the 10 Pakistanis. The auctions would continue on Tuesday, when Category B and C players along with those who went into the reserve list, would be up for auction.

Top Indian picks

Nitin Tomar (UP) – 93 lakhs

Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) – 81 lakhs

Manjeet Chillar (Jaipur Pink Panthers) -- 75.50 lakhs biggest PKL bid everywhere

Selvamani K (Jaipur Pink Panthers) – 73 lakhs

Surjeet Singh (Bengal Warriors) – 73 lakhs

Rajesh Narwal (UP) – 69 lakhs

Sandeep Narwal (Puneri Paltan) – 66 lakhs

Amit Hooda (Tamil Nadu) – 63 lakhs

Jeeva Kumar (UP) – 52 lakhs

Jasvir Singh (Jaipur Pink Panthers) -- 51 lakhs

Ravinder Pahal (Bengaluru Bulls) – 50 lakhs

Ajay (Bengaluru Bulls) – 48.50 lakhs

Kashiling Adake (U Mumba) – 48 lakhs

Ran Singh (Bengal Warriors) -- 47.50 lakhs

Mohit Chillar (Haryana) – 46.50 lakhs

Dharmaraj Cheralathan (Puneri Paltan) – 46 lakhs 42 yrs old

Rishank Devadiga (UP) – 45.50

Rakesh Kumar (Telugu Titans) – 45 lakhs

Shabeer Bappu (U Mumba) – 45

Monu Goyat (Patna Pirates)– 44.50

Sachin Shingade (Patna Pirates) – 42.50 lakhs

CPO Surjeet Singh raider (Haryana) – 42.50

Rajesh Mondal (Puneri Paltan)– 42 lakhs

Vishal Mane (Patna Pirates) – 36.50 lakhs

Nilesh Shinde (Dabang Delhi) – 35.5 lakhs

Girish Maruti Ernak (Puneri Paltan) -- 33.50 lakhs

Joginder Narwal (U Mumba) 32 lakhs

Sukesh Hegde (Gujarat) – 31.50 lakhs

Nitin Madane (U Mumba) – 28.50

Rohit Rana (Telugu Titans) -- 27.50 lakhs

Anil Kumar (Tamil Nadu) – 25.5 lakhs

Mahendra Ganesh Rajput (Gujarat) – 25 lakhs

Sonu Narwal (Haryana) – 21 lakhs

Ravi Dalal (Dabang Delhi) – 20 lakhs

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