Before the start of every Pro Kabaddi season, the franchises look to retain the services of the players who have performed well for them in the previous season as well as youngsters who have shown their spark and potential for the future. This enables both the team and players to extend their stay in a familiar setting and creates a healthy bond for the upcoming PKL season. Some of the players go on to perform well and justify their retention in the squad.
Here we take a look at some of the Elite Retained Players (ERP) who proved their worth for their respective franchise in Pro Kabaddi Season 9.
Arjun was in sublime form for Jaipur Panthers throughout the season and earned 296 raid points in 24 matches at an average of 12.33 raid points. He demonstrated top form for Jaipur Pink Panthers and was one of the key players in helping them lift the coveted PKL trophy. Jaipur Pink Panthers’ management showed great faith in him and he was exceptional in the attack, emerging as the standout raider of tournament. Arjun scored seven Super Raids as well as 17 Super 10s in Season 9 and was adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the campaign.
Maninder Singh has undoubtedly been an important cog in the wheel for Bengal Warriors over the years. He lived up to the billing in Season 9 after being retained and secured 238 raid points in 21 matches. Super Mani as he’s fondly known was placed in the fifth spot in the list of most raid points scored in Season 9 with 11 Super Raids and 14 Super 10s. Bengal Warriors continue to persist with the reliable raider because of his consistency as a raider and leadership on the mat. He has been the anchor of the ship for the Warriors over the years and Pro Kabaddi Season 9 was no different.
Ajinkya Pawar became one of the faces of Tamil Thalaivas’ attack after Pawan Sehrawat’s injury in their first PKL match of Season 9. He was oozing with confidence whenever he went out to raid for the team and scored 130 raid points in 22 matches. He gave Pro Kabaddi fans one of the best moments of Season 9 when he produced a 7-point raid against Telugu Titans and left onlookers speechless. The presence of the seasoned campaigner proved to be crucial on the mat. The prolific raider’s experience helped the Thalaivas when it came to dealing with pressure situations and his 35 do-or-die raid points in the season is proof of his application.
Mohammadreza Chiyaneh was solid in defence for Patna Pirates last year. The left corner put on a dominant defensive show in Pro Kabaddi Season 9 and scored 84 tackle points. The robust tackler was retained for his fantastic performance in his first-ever PKL season the year prior and he scored a remarkable 89 tackle points in the eighth edition. He got his name engraved as the player with the most tackle points scored in a PKL match when he added 16 tackle points to his credit in a match against Dabang Delhi K.C. He has been the top defender for the Pirates since his debut in the league.
Right corner Rinku has been a part of U Mumba since Season 8 and has evolved as a defender. He was the best tackler for the Mumboys in Pro Kabaddi Season 9 with 59 tackle points in 19 matches and also claimed the sixth spot in the overall defenders list for most tackle points in the campaign. In the absence of Surinder Singh, he also led the U Mumba team and had decent outings as captain.