From Rs 5 lakh base price to Rs 12.25 lakh bid, Chirag Yadav ready to soar for Calicut Heroes in Prime Volleyball League  

Placed in the gold category at the PVL 2 auction, Chirag Yadav was bid to Calicut Heroes and tied with Ranjit Singh as the second most expensive player in the auction.

Chirag Yadav (white jersey) was the second most expensive player in PVL 2 auctions.

Chirag Yadav (white jersey) was the second most expensive player in PVL 2 auctions. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Placed in the gold category at the PVL 2 auction, Chirag Yadav was bid to Calicut Heroes and tied with Ranjit Singh as the second most expensive player in the auction.

Chirag Yadav was not a part of Prime Volleyball League 1. The Services and Indian national team volleyball attacker, however, registered himself for the PVL 2 auction pool. The decision has earned him Rs 12.25 lakh from Calicut Heroes and tied him with Ranjit Singh as the second most expensive player in the PVL 2 auction. The duo is behind Rohit Kumar, who got the highest bid of Rs 17.5 lakh from Kochi Blue Spikers. 

Placed in the gold category at the auction, with a base price of Rs 5 lakh, Chirag triggered a bidding war between Hyderabad Black Hawks and Chennai Blue Spikers before Calicut Heroes swooped in, making him the most expensive player sold in the gold category. 

“I didn’t register for the auction last year. Once I decided to enter the auction pool, I was excited and nervous. I think I made the right choice,” says Chirag, 22. 

He chuckles when asked about his early memories of the sport. “Everyone used to praise my elder brother for his ability in volleyball. I used to feel happy hearing the praise, but at the same time, I would think about how it would feel if I was in his place.” 

Chirag started taking volleyball seriously in 2017 when he had just finished his Class 10 exams and was in Gujarat for summer vacations. His father urged him to take the Sports Authority of India (SAI) trials in Gujarat. He did and headed back to his hometown in Haryana. Two months later, he got a call that he was selected. 

His breakthrough moment came when he was chosen the captain of the India U-20 team in 2018. “Getting selected as captain for the India U-20 team was one of my best moments.”

Growing from strength to strength, Chirag was a part of the Indian team that won silver in the 2019 Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship. India lost to Chinese Taipei in the final. “India had never won a medal in the U23 category till then, that made it more special for us,” says Chirag, who stands at 6ft 4in.

“I didn’t register for the auction last year. Once I decided to enter the auction pool, I was excited and nervous. I think I made the right choice,” says Chirag.

“I didn’t register for the auction last year. Once I decided to enter the auction pool, I was excited and nervous. I think I made the right choice,” says Chirag. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Joining the senior team for the 2021 Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship as its youngest member, Chirag regrets not being able to defeat Bahrain in the first game. “I feel sad that we lost to Bahrain 0-3 in our first match as they weren’t that strong. We had beaten them earlier. The loss was a hit to our confidence. Our ninth ranking match was again with Bahrain and we beat them 3-2.” 

Rohit, who received the most expensive bid in PVL history, is a player who inspires Chirag. “I saw him play in a tournament and thought to myself that I want to be a player like him and also play with him.” Chirag’s all-time great, however, is Matt Anderson, an attacker from the US. “No matter who comes and goes, he will always be my favourite player.” 

At the 2022 National Games, Chirag was a part of the Services team that defeated Kerala, which eventually lifted the trophy. The match was a major confidence booster, says Chirag. “We thought since Kerala had experience, we had to give them a tough fight. It was not impossible to beat them.” 

However, Services could not build on the momentum and lost close matches to Karnataka and Haryana. “Had we been careful, we could have made the podium,” says Chirag.

After the National Games, Chirag was planning a holiday, but shelved it after registering for PVL. Chirag knows the money he attracted will bring with it the pressure to perform, but is thinking of it all as an opportunity. “I do feel pressure, but I also think since the team has faith in me, I have to prove they made the right choice.”

Chirag is confident of getting into the groove easily with his Calicut teammates. He is familiar with many of them from tournaments and camps. “During the senior India camp, I used to play with Jerome bhai (Jerome Vinith) and Sushil Kumar, while playing with Shafeeque in the Services team.”

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