A number of top Indian stars will be under the hammer on August 29-31.

Raiders might be the entertainment spectacles in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). But no team can achieve success without solid defenders. Bengal Warriors’ terrific performance without Maninder Singh in the playoffs in season 7 highlighted this.

A stable organisation needs dependable defenders to win. The upcoming auction for season 8 could see a bidding war for talented defenders. Let’s take a look at the top five defenders who will available at the season 8 auction.

5. Vishal Bhardwaj

Left-corner defender Vishal Bhardwaj is a valuable defensive prospect in the Pro Kabaddi League. He has already made leaps in his defensive game in recent years. The young player earned the nod to captain the storied Telugu Titans franchise in season 6. Having only played for the Titans in his four year long PKL career, Bhardwaj has notched 199 tackle points.

He also crossed 60 points in each of his last three seasons. The defender scored a total of 62 tackle points in season 7, providing support to the Desai in the attack. However, Telugu Titans finished at the 11th position. Nevertheless, Vishal Bhardwaj brings a lot to the table and teams will be looking to snap him up.

4. Ravinder Pahal

The Pro Kabaddi League veteran has plied his trade for three different teams over the years, impressing for every single outfit he has stepped on the mat. He comes into the season 8 auction after helping Naveen Kumar and Dabang Delhi KC reach the final for the first time ever in the franchise’s history.

Pahal took Delhi to final in the last season

The 30-year-old was a key figure as the Delhi-based franchise finished at the top of the league standings to reach the knockouts for the first time in history. Pahal, who was adjudged the best defender of season 2, was once again a bright light on the defensive end, scoring 63 tackle points as Delhi breezed through to the final.

3. Baldev Singh

In his first season, Baldev registered just 28 points for Bengal Warriors. He then exploded for the Kolkata-based side in season 2 as he established himself as one of the key pieces in the championship winning side. Baldev registered 66 tackle points in season 7 and was one of the pillars that held the fort together after Maninder’s injury. His championship experience would be valuable to many teams and a bidding war could manifest for Baldev.

2. Sandeep Dhull

Dhull will be a key player for any team in the league (Courtesy: PKL)

Amongst all the released defenders, Sandeep Dhull had the highest returns in season 7. Dhull was a Pink Panther in 2019 and played a big role in the team’s strategy on the mat.

Along with all-rounder Deepak Hooda, Dhull fashioned the Jaipur-based side into a scary opposition and registered 74 points for his team in the last season of the Pro Kabaddi League. The youngster has scored a total of 140 tackle points for the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the last two seasons and could be of huge impact for any team he suits up for.

1. PO Surjeet Singh

Surjeet Singh is one of the best defenders in the Pro Kabaddi League. It was a surprise to see that Puneri Paltan let go of such a valuable piece. It will allow another team with high hopes to get a key figure within their ranks. The experienced defender registered a league-high seven High 5s in just 21 matches while maintaining an average of three tackle points per game in the last season. He is a wary defender for raiders to square up against and is tough enough to handle any moves that are thrown at him.

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