PKL Auction: Teams exercise restraint on day two

Defender Neeraj Kumar was the biggest buy on Tuesday with Patna Pirates bagging him for Rs. 44.75 lakh.

Teams at the Pro Kabaddi League auction at Mumbai.   -  Special Arrangement

In a stark contrast from the first day, the second day of the Pro Kabaddi League season seven player auctions saw franchises show restraint for the most part.

While Siddharth Desai went for ₹1.45 crore on Monday, it was defender Neeraj Kumar who was the biggest buy on Tuesday with Patna Pirates bagging him for ₹44.75 lakh.

Only seven players were bought for more than ₹20 lakh, with just four breaching the ₹30 lakh barrier.

As the PKL auctions happened

Understandably, Neeraj was the most sought after player. Patna Pirates was invloved in a four-way fight with Bengal Warriors, Tamil Thalaivas and Gujarat Fortunegiants. Incidentally, Pirates joined the war when the bid reached ₹30 lakh (his base price was ₹10 lakh) and held firm to snap him up.

Haryana Steelers spent more than ₹30 lakh twice, signing defender Vikas Kale for ₹34.25 lakh and raider Naveen for ₹33.5 lakh.

Having joined PKL in the second season, Vikas played for five teams in five editions — Bengal, Telugu Titans, U Mumba, Gujarat and Patna, in that order — and will be joining a sixth side in the seventh season.

Naveen, on the other hand, was with Haryana last season and went unsold initially in the day but rejoined the Rakesh Kumar-coached side in the accelerated process post-lunch.

Top buys across categories

Ajeet became the fourth player to go beyond the ₹30 lakh mark when Thalaivas beat UP Yoddha in the bidding war to bag the category C defender.

The franchises spent most of the day picking up players at their base prices in order to meet the criteria of having a minimum 18 players in their squads.

Ten New Young Players (NYP) also saw buyers as the franchises decided to put their faith in the younger crop. One common theme across teams during the two days of the PKL auction was that they tried to re-sign players they let go of, after the last season.

Dabang Delhi CEO Sumeet Yadav said, "Continuity helps in increasing the consistency. And there is a focus on young players as the team has to build for the future."

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It was also a surprise to see Sachin Shingade, Tushar Patil, Sachin Vittala and Ajay Kumar going unsold. Vittala, in fact, was a regular starter for Gujarat last season, even playing in the final against Bengaluru Bulls, but the defender found no takers for season seven.

Overall, a total of 200 players (173 domestic and 27 international) were bought by the 12 teams over the two days with over ₹50 crore exchanging hands.