Pro Kabaddi League: Mohit Chhillar most expensive player as Bengaluru Bulls rule the roost in auction
Defender Mohit Chillar, a clerk in North Western Railway, saw his earnings jump nine-fold from 2014 when Bengaluru Bulls made a successful bid to grab him for a substantial amount of Rs 53 lakh for the upcoming season 4 of the Pro Kabaddi League at the players' auction on Friday.
Mumbai: Defender Mohit Chhillar, a clerk in North Western Railway, saw his earnings jump nine-fold from 2014 when Bengaluru Bulls made a successful bid to grab him for a substantial amount of Rs 53 lakh for the upcoming season 4 of the Pro Kabaddi League at the players' auction on Friday.
The successful bid for Chhillar by Bengaluru for the right corner defender from season 2 champions U Mumba was the highest of the day at the auctions held in Mumbai.
Going into the auction each of the eight teams had been allowed to retain two players each who were with them for season 3.
Chhillar, who is set to turn 23 on July 13, had been bid for Rs 5.75 lakh at the first players' action held in 2014 prior to season 1 of PKL, a property jointly owned by broadcasters Star Sports and Mashal Sports.
"I feel very happy. I did not expect to get this much as I thought I would go from between 35 and 40 lakh," Chillar, who hails from Nizampur village which is 30 kms from the Capital, told reporters via a conference call in Mumbai.
"I take special leave without pay from my employers when I take part in the PKL," said Chhillar who, however, said he does not entertain any thoughts of quitting his job after the windfall.
Sandeep Narwal, of season 3 champions Patna Pirates, was successfully bid for by Telugu Titans for Rs 45.5 lakh while U Mumba held on to Jeeva Kumar for Rs 40 lakh, in the bidding for Group A players, whose base price was kept at Rs 12 lakh.
Season 4 of PKL, to be held less than four months after the completion of season 3 in early March, is to be held from June 25 to July 31 with the first leg matches scheduled at Pune and the two semi finals and final at Hyderabad.
The others bid for in Group A were: Jasmer Singh Gulia - Rs 35.5 lakh - Telugu Titans (old team Puneri Palton); Kuldeep Singh - 30.4 lakh - Patna Pirates - (old team Jaipur Pink Panthers); Surendar Nada - 30 lakh - Bengaluru Bulls (old team U Mumba); Dharmaraj Cheralathan - Rs 29 lakh - Patna Pirates (old team Telugu Titans); Rakesh Kumar - Rs 26 lakh (retained by U Mumba); Bajirao Hodage - Rs 20 lakh - Patna Pirates (old team Bengal Warriors) and Ajay Thakur - Rs 19 lakh (retained by Puneri Paltan).
All eight teams had retained two players each - all Indians - before the auction in which Group B players had a base price of Rs 8 lakh and Group C players Rs 5 lakh.
The retained players were:
Group A: Kashilling Adake (Raider, Dabang Delhi), Rahul Chaudhari (Raider, Telugu Titans), Manjeet Chillar (All rounder, Puneri Palton), Rishank Devadiga (Raider, U Mumba), Girish Maruti Ernak (Defender, Bengal Warriors), Sukesh Hegde (Raider, Telugu Titans), Deepak Niwas Hooda (All rounder, Puneri Palton), Anup Kumar (Raider, U Mumba), Pradeep Narwal (Raider, Patna Pirates), Rajesh Narwal (All rounder, Jaipur Pink Panthers), Nilesh Shinde (Defender, Bengal Warriors) and Jasvir Singh (Raider, Jaipur Pink Panthers).
Group B: Selvamani K (Raider, Dabang Delhi), Pawan Kumar (Raider, Bengaluru Bulls) and Rajesh Mondal (Raider, Patna Pirates).
Group C: Ashish Kumar (Defender, Bengaluru Bulls).
Each franchise had a total purse of Rs two crore to be spent at Friday's action after deducting the amount they had spent on retaining the allowed limit of two players.
"We will increase the prize money which was 2.6 crore, including the individual prizes, in season 3. This is the third PKL season in a period of 12 months. At this auction the disparity between the amounts bid for raiders and defenders has come down and it's more equal now," said League Commissioner Anupam Goswami.
"The league is being broadcast to more than 100 territories. We have got very interesting feedback from the UK, Denmark and Poland.
Recently (Indian Kabaddi Federation's president Janardhan Singh) Gehlot was in Pakistan and he said in the auction that everyone was talking about Pro Kabaddi," said Goswami.
Only one player from Pakistan, Muhammad Rizwan, was picked at the auction - by Telugu Titans - from among eight players who were available, Mashal Sports' Charu Sharma said.
"Though the Indian government has been very supportive (of Pak players playing in PKL), there's still just a little bit of apprehension locally (among the franchises)," he said.
Bollywood actor and Jaipur Pink Panthers owner Abhishek Bachchan said that PKL "has made a huge difference to players' lives. They can now take it a as a professional career."
"Kabaddi is a profitable venture for me," he added.
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