The Season 5 auction of VIVO Pro Kabaddi threw up a lot of surprises. The competition to get the top players was fierce and a number of times the bidding went through the roof. While some of the players failed to live up to the hype, there were many others who proved their value to the team with consistent performances. Here we look at some of these heroes who fought hard for their team’s cause and showed just why they were rated so highly.
1. Nitin Tomar - ₹93,00,000
There were a lot of eye brows raised when Nitin Tomar became the most expensive player to be bought at the Season 5 VIVO Pro Kabaddi auction. He trumped several experienced players to go for a whopping ₹93 lakhs to U.P. Yoddha. However, Tomar displayed excellent all-round commitment throughout the league and led the team from the front every time. He managed to score 177 points from 20 games and his valiant effort took his team through to the playoffs in their debut season.
2. Rohit Kumar - ₹81,00,000
Bengaluru Bulls captain Rohit Kumar put in a brave effort but couldn’t take his team beyond the league stages of Season 5. After Bengaluru decided not to retain Kumar from the previous season’s team, they had to bid for him in the auction and ended up shelling out ₹81 lakhs for the raider, making him the second most expensive catch of the auction. Rohit, though, justified their faith in him as he went on to become the second highest scorer of the season and was the first player ever in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history to break the 30-raid point record.
3. Surjeet Singh - ₹73,00,000
Bengal Warriors revamped their team after a few disappointing VIVO Pro Kabaddi campaigns and they started by bringing in new leadership in the form of Surjeet Singh. Arguably one of the best cover defenders currently playing the game, Singh had proven his skills both in the league and at the national level as well. In Season 5, he scored 76 points from 24 games and was instrumental in his team’s road to the playoffs.
4. Ajay Thakur - ₹69,30,000
Tamil Thalaivas picked a young team in the auction with an eye on the future but needed an experienced hand to guide them in their debut season. They found their leader in World Cup hero and star raider Ajay Thakur. Thakur not only performed consistently but also kept the team’s morale high till the match was over. He was a part of a number of last minute victories for the Thalaivas and will long be remembered for his never-say-die attitude.
5. Sandeep Narwal - ₹66,00,000
Puneri Paltan had a strong defensive line in Season 5 and were spoiled for choice. But one player who made an automatic case for himself, by way of his all-round skills, was Sandeep Narwal. The lad from Haryana managed both defence and raiding with equal ease and was one of Paltan’s mainstays throughout their campaign. His quick raids when the opposition was down to their last 1 or 2 men proved decisive for Pune on many occasions and saw him emerge as the second most valuable all-rounder of the league with 85 points, behind Iranian Meraj Sheykh.