VIVO Pro Kabaddi, India's biggest sports league, conducted a successful Player Auction, the first marquee event of Season 5 of the league, in New Delhi. Day 1 of the two-day auction netted a total price of INR 27.27 crores for 60 players selected. Twelve franchises came together, in an intense bidding war, to piece together teams that will lead them to victory.
Witnessing a phenomenal growth over the last 4 seasons – across packed stadia and record viewership numbers – Pro Kabaddi has emerged as a benchmark for sports leagues in India.
Nitin Tomar attracted the highest bid at this year's auction by Team U.P. for an amount of INR 93 lacs, against the base price of INR 20 lacs. This is a whopping increase of 626% compared to the bid price of INR 12.80 lacs for Rakesh Kumar; the highest bid player in the Season 1 auctions.
Top 5 Indian Players
|1||Nitin Tomar||93 Lacs||Team UP|
|2||Rohit Kumar||81 Lacs||Bengaluru Bulls|
|3||Manjeet Chhillar||75.5 Lacs||Jaipur Pink Panthers|
|4=||Po Surjeet Singh||73 Lacs||Bengal Warriors|
|4=||Selvamani K||73 Lacs||Jaipur Pink Panthers|
The top players from the Overseas Category witnessed great interest from all franchisees. Abozar Mohajermighani from Iran was bagged by Team Gujarat for 50 lacs, the highest bid in the Overseas Category.
Top 5 International Players
|1||Abozar Mohajermighani||50 Lacs||Gujarat||Iran|
|2||Abolfazel Maghsodlo||31 Lacs||Delhi||Iran|
|3||Farhad Rahimi Milaghardhan||29 Lacs||Telugu Titans||Iran|
|4||Khomsan Thongkham||20.4 Lacs||Haryana||Thailand|
|5||Hadi Oshtorak||18.6 Lacs||U Mumba||Iran|
Dynamic Pricing, a real-time determination of an elite player’s salary, was introduced for the first time. For the elite retained players, the final salary was determined on the team’s highest spend on a player during the auction.
Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, VIVO Pro Kabaddi said, "This is a new chapter in the history of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, our largest ever player auction with an enormous Auction Purse and the biggest talent pool, from all over the country and the rest of the world. With new introductions, such as Dynamic Pricing, it was encouraging to see the teams strategising to constitute robust teams with a focus on lifting the coveted Season 5 trophy. I would like to thank the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AFKI), International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), and their constituent bodies for their strong support to make the league a magnificent success every season. The auction proved that Kabaddi has truly become a viable career option for the youth of India.”
Dr. Mridul Bhadauria, President, Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India said, "The VIVO Pro Kabaddi Player Auction underlines the undisputed rise of Kabaddi in Indian sports. It is great to see that franchisees are willing to invest and even pay a premium to retain key players, which showcases their belief in the sport. 131 New Young Players participating in the auction is also encouraging for the growth of Kabaddi as a career avenue. We are grateful to Mashal Sports, Star Sports and all franchises for their continuous support and efforts in taking Kabaddi to newer heights."
Nitin Tomar - highest bid player by Team U.P., said, "It’s a dream come true. All my family members are happy. I am grateful to Team U.P. for investing in me. This is quite exciting and motivating, and it shows my teams' belief in me. I am happy with the way the team is shaping up in the auction and I look forward to an action-packed Season 5."
Elite Retained Players and Priority Picks
The new franchises were permitted one priority pick before the auction. Team Haryana had the opportunity to pick first and they went for Surender Nada, part of the Indian team that lifted the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. Team Gujarat picked Fazel Atrachali of Iran whilst Team U.P. chose not to pick any priority player.
Priority Picks by New Franchises
|1||Team Haryana||Surender Nada||Defender, Left-corner|
|2||Team U.P.||No pick|
|3||Team Gujarat||Fazel Atrachali (Overseas)||Defender, Left-corner|
|4||Team Tamil Nadu||Ajay Thakur||Raider|
Each franchise was permitted to retain one elite player, either from the Domestic or Overseas categories, from their respective Season 4 squads. Among them are Kabaddi stars Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans), Anup Kumar (U Mumba), Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors), Ashish Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls), Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi K.C), Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) and Deepak Hooda (Puneri Paltan). Jaipur Pink Panthers was the only existing franchise that did not retain any player from Season 4.
New Young Players
The auctions were preceded by a draft pick for New Young Players, scouted from across the country. The first three to be selected were Rohit Gulia (19), Bhavani Rajput (22) and Mayur Shivtarkar (21). Team Gujarat had the first pick and selected Rohit Gulia, Junior Nationals, Silver medallist from Haryana whilst Team Tamil Nadu picked Bhavani Rajput, a senior State Level Gold Medallist from Madhya Pradesh. Team Haryana, with the third pick of the draft chose Mayur Shivtarkar, Senior National bronze medallist from Maharashtra.
Day 2 of the auction, will see players from Indian players from Category A, B, C and D, as franchises begin to see their team take shape before the season begins on July 28, 2017, in 12 cities, with over 130 matches across 13 weeks.