Star raider Siddharth Desai has been released by U Mumba for injury reasons. He does not figure among the three names retained by the franchise for the seventh season of Pro Kabaddi League. Defenders Fazel Atrachali, Rajaguru Subramaniam and raider Arjun Deshwal have been retained by the franchise.
Desai, who won the best debutant award in the previous season, had to undergo a surgery on his left shoulder at the Apollo Spectra Hospital in Mumbai and is currently in rehabilitation. “We were told it will take six months to recover, so we have released him. We hope he returns to kabaddi after full recovery. Kabaddi is a body contract sport and injuries happen. I don’t blame players who have rushed into return earlier, but careers can be prolonged with recovery and rehabilitation,” U Mumba CEO Supratik Sen said.
Kolhapur-born Desai, who competed for the first time as a professional in the sixth season of PKL, established a series of raiding records for U Mumba. He was the fastest to accomplish 50 raid points (four games) and equalled the record for 100 raid points (held by Rahul Chaudhari). He was also the first rookie to score 200 raids points in a season, averaging over a Super 10 per match, he aggregated an astonishing 218 points in 21 appearances.
Desai made pro debut at 26 years and top-scored on maiden PKL appearance with 15 points in a 32-32 tie against Puneri Paltan during the Chennai leg. He had the third highest total raid points, behind Bengaluru Bulls’ Pawan Kumar Sehrawat (271) and Patna Pirates’ Pardeep Narwal (233). Both the players were retained by their respective teams.
The options before Desai are to join the auction pool in the hope of another franchise picks him or complete recovery. The U Mumbai official said: “It is for the Pro Kabaddi League to decide the future course regarding a player released. U Mumba got the surgery done for him in February 2019, as the player wanted it that time.” It is learnt his contract ended in January 2019 as PKL season six ended.
He got into PKL season six on the strength of performances for Maharashtra at the Senior National Kabaddi Championships in Hyderabad. Desai’s raw strength, reach and speed made him a formidable weapon in the raid zone, He notched five Super 10s in only six starts for U Mumba.
The 27-year-old will now have to wait for the April 8-9 auction to find out about his fate in the season seven of the PKL.
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