The 2021 PKL mega auction will take place from August 29-31, with more than 450 players to go under the hammer, while 12 franchises are set to dig deep into their pockets. With big shots released from their respective franchises, the auction will be exciting more than it has ever been.
After a one-year hiatus, the PKL is back once again, along with its share of thrills and chills that will keep you hooked on to your flatscreens till the last raid. However, we are expecting some significant changes in the roster of the franchises, especially after the mass exodus in the build-up to the mega auction, which takes place from August 29-31.
Now, let us have a look at the players that are expected to set the auction on fire:
The Patna Pirates management must have been high on dope when the idea of releasing ‘Pardeep Narwal’ popped up, yet, this can be an eyewash with a master plan brewing in the background. Well, time will tell. But, for the fans, this was a development that shook everyone to the core. Having guided the Patna-based franchise to three consecutive PKL titles, Pardeep earned the Most Valuable Player award in season 4 and season 5. In fact, his numbers in the previous edition were too flattering to see himself depart from the Patna Pirates unit.
However, it has opened a window of opportunity for all the franchises to lure in arguably the best raider in the history of the tournament in their ranks. Well, as far as the stats go, there’s no match to the Haryana-based player, already boasting of 1160 raid points in his PKL career, miles ahead of his nearest contender. At the age of 24, the ‘Dubki King’ will be fitting ammunition to any PKL side, with the added incentive of reaping returns in the long run as well.
However, we cannot rule out the possibility of Patna Pirates retaining him by using the ‘Final Bid Match’ card in the auction. What can we be assured of? The auctioneer sweating it out when his name gets displayed, coupled with the numerous beating of the hammer. Undoubtedly, franchises are going to bid sky-high for the superstar.
If anyone’s really sent Pardeep Narwal’s Bradmanesque-like stats some sort of a run, it has been Rahul Chaudhari. Already a legend for his previous side Telugu Titans, the raider has been through thick and thin of the PKL, even though silverware still eludes him. It was in the build-up to the seventh season that Tamil Thalaivas brought him for a sum of INR 94 lakh, however, the return on investment was sub-par. Just 138 points earned in 22 matches, is pretty uncharacteristic of what Rahul can produce.
But, as they say - class is permanent. It would be foolish to console ourselves that Rahul is past his prime. Maybe, Thalaiva’s might have felt a similar vibe when he was released ahead of the mega-auction. On the flip side, it’s good news like no other for the teams which are on the hunt of an experienced raider, cause, with a conversion rate close to the 50% mark, he’s hardly going to disappoint his new employers, unless, the Tamil Thalaiva’s make a U-turn to keep him at home.
Ajay Thakur is a name synonymous with Indian Kabaddi in the past decade. And, even though he is on the wrong side of 30, the raider still has some fire left in his belly. His PKL bio is spread across several chapters, from his initial days with Bengaluru Bulls, his move to Puneri Paltan, followed by his stint with the Tamil Thalaivas. To be honest, it was a forgettable outing for the legendary player last season, having 58 points in 13 matches. The above-mentioned numbers are as good as negligible for the Ajay Thakur we’ve known for ages.
Well, his heroics for the national side in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup is still fresh in our memories, including the Super-10 against Iran in the summit clash. Unfortunately, the golden touch has faded away through the sands of time, but with all the experience under his belt, handing him a deal would be a smart move. We are expecting quite a few suitors for the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award winner when the auction gets underway later this weekend.
Jang Kun Lee
The South Korean raider has been an integral part of the Bengal Warriors unit since the inaugural season until he switched to Patna Pirates ahead of the 2019 PKL. But, that still does not justify Pirates’ investment of INR 40 lakh to go in one shot. The raider, who mainly banks on his bonus points and toe touches for his trade, is a tried and tested player in the PKL circuit, having earned 496 raid points in 106 matches, yet, he’s without an employer at present Coneth the 2021 PKL auctions, Jang will definitely get assigned for a new mission.
Lee’s introduction to Kabaddi was at the age of 18, having fast-tracked to the national team a couple of years later, in 2013, bagging an Asian Games bronze medal, the following year. The South Korean’s graph was always on the rise since his arrival in the PKL circuit, enjoying his best season in 2016, where he earned 90 points from 15 matches, in the January-leg. The platter has been set for auction, it's a matter of time before the drama unfolds and we discover who gets the slice of the pie.
Deepak Hooda’s PKL career got off to a firing start in the inaugural season itself, with the Telugu Titans roping in the all-rounder for a whopping INR 12.6 Lakh (the second-highest bid for the season). After a couple of decent outings with the Titans, he was deported to Puneri Paltans for the next three seasons. It was during his stay with the Paltans that the player established himself as one of the stalwarts in the Indian circuit. Simultaneously, he guided India to a World Cup win in 2016.
However, a PKL title is still missing from his cabinet, with the best finish coming in the third season when he guided Puneri Paltans to a third-place finish. In fact, the last couple of seasons have been phenomenal for the all-rounder, after joining Jaipur Pink Panthers. Hooda completed season 7 with 158 points from 20 matches, which is decent. Maybe the seventh-place finish was too much for the Panther’s management to take, eventually, releasing one of their most potent weapons in the build-up to the new season.