When Rakesh Kumar was bought by Patna Pirates for the inaugural season of Pro Kabaddi in 2014, he went with the highest price tag among the lot - fetching a sum of Rs 12.80 lakh.
After all, Rakesh Kumar was once the vice-captain of the Indian national kabaddi team and an Arjuna Award winner.
Fast forward four years, and the Rs 12.80 pales in comparison to what Pro Kabaddi stars started earning with the league. By Season 4, the maximum price had shot up to Rs 53 lakhs (Mohit Chhillar to Bengaluru Bulls) and nearly doubled to Rs 93 lakhs by Season 5 (Nitin Tomar to UP Yoddha).
Iran’s Fazel Atrachali was the first PKL player to fetch a price of 1 crore when the Iranian defender was bought by U Mumba for Season 6. Pardeep Narwal holds the record of being Pro Kabaddi’s highest-paid player when he was bought for Rs 1.65 crore by U.P. Yoddha for Season 8.
In all, eight PKL players on 10 occasions have hit the one crore mark over the last three seasons. Six players hit the mark in Season 6 while only two managed it in seasons 7 and 8 each.
Monu Goyat fetched the highest price in Season 6 with a bid of 1.51 crore by Haryana Steelers. Siddharth Desai was the most expensive player in the PKL Season 7 auction. He was picked up for a handsome 1.45 crore by Telugu Titans and stayed on in Season 8 via the Final Bid Match card.