Unexpected rains in the middle of scorching Delhi summers brought the temperatures down during the day but as Pro Kabaddi League’s latest round of players’ auction took off, things started heating up at the auction venue in New Delhi on Monday evening.
With the number of teams increasing from 8 to 12, pool of players going over 400 including 60+ International faces from 16 countries, the number game dynamics increased manifold in the fiercely competitive auction hall.
Wearing a red jacket, Bob Hayton – the masterful sports salesman, was at the helm of affairs with a number of players surpassing last year’s highest bid mark of Rs 53 lakh (Mohit Chhillar for Bengaluru Bulls).
Star all-rounder Manjeet Chhillar, with a price tag of Rs 75.5 lakh, was the early leader in terms of the total moolah raked in by a player. Abhishek Bachchan owned Jaipur Pink Panthers were the successful bidders
Later on, both PO Surjeet Singh (defender) and Selvamani K (raider) were sold for Rs 73 lakh to Bengal Warriors and Jaipur Pink Panthers, respectively. Singh, in the process and to everyone’s surprise, became the highest paid defender in the league.
Another notable bidding war that came about was for raider Rohit Kumar. With a base price of Rs 20 lakh, the roof-shattering starting bid of Rs 50 lakh for Rohit made a lot of noise in the media room. Eventually, Rohit surpassed Manjeet Chhillar’s price as Bengaluru Bulls snatched him for a mouth-watering Rs 81 Lakh.
The path-breaking moment, however, was destined for the 22-year-old raider Nitin Tomar. Patna Pirates were the first franchise to show interest in bagging Tomar with a starting bid of Rs 30 lakh. They were later on joined by no less than four other franchisees – Jaipur, Gujarat, UP and Telugu Titans. In the end, it was GMR-owned team UP who broke the bank and shattered all the records with Rs 93 Lakh winning bid.
As Nitin Tomar won the highest bid ever in Pro Kabaddi’s history, the whole atmosphere and mood at the auction went into frenzy late in the evening.
All 12 teams, representing 11 states, will complete their squads today to compete in 13 week long marathon season 5, starting this July.