Franchises spent big bucks to strengthen their squads ahead of the upcoming season.
After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is back for its eighth season. Before the start of the action, all the 12 teams were given the opportunity to set up their dream lineup during the auction. Some of the top Kabaddi stars went under the hammer from August 29 to August 31 in Mumbai.
The PKL season 8 auction saw several interesting happenings as there were some fantastic purchases made by teams. There were moments of exhilaration as all teams engaged in a furious bidding war to build their new squads. The highlight of the auction was Pardeep Narwal who made history by becoming the most expensive player ever for ₹1.65 crore. Meanwhile, the likes of Siddharth Desai, Arjun Deshwal and Manjeet Dahiya also went for big bucks.
Over 450 players were set to be auctioned off and apart from the raiders, some top defenders got a lot of money too. Let us take a look at the top five most expensive defenders of the Pro Kabaddi League season 8 auction.
5. Sandeep Kandola – Rs 59.50 Lakhs (Telugu Titans)
Sandeep Kandola had a breakout season in the second edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. He scored 59 tackle points in just 16 games for Telugu Titans in his debut season. He is known for his ferocious tackling talents and has been a constant presence for his team. The defender makes 3.43 successful tackles per match on average.
The ankle hold is one of his signature moves, which he executes with military precision. Sandeep plays the game like a seasoned pro, displaying no signs of anxiety which was the reason why Telugu Titans bought him for ₹59.50 lakhs in the auction.
4. Baldev Singh – Rs 60 Lakhs (Puneri Paltan)
Baldev Singh hails from the town of Dabhota in Himachal Pradesh. He made his Pro Kabaddi League debut with the Bengal Warriors in season 6. The right corner defender excels at back holds, disrupting the raider’s momentum and not allowing him to reach the middle of the mat. He is also noted for blocking raiders with his body blocks and performing some spectacular chain tackles.
The defender began his professional career in the sixth edition of the league but came into the limelight in the subsequent season. He was re-signed by Bengal Warriors for the seventh season and scored a total of 66 tackle points. During the PKL season 8 player’s auction, he was picked up by the Puneri Paltan for ₹60 lakhs. Baldev will look to continue his good run of form in the league.
3. Vishal Bhardwaj – Rs 60 Lakhs (Puneri Paltan)
Puneri Paltan spent some big bucks in the Pro Kabaddi League season 8 auction. Apart from Baldev Singh, they also signed star defender Vishal Bhardwaj for ₹60 lakhs. Vishal is regarded as one of the best defenders in the league. He can utilize his sheer strength to hold an opposing raider in his half. PKL 5 was his breakout season, as he scored 71 tackle points and finished as the third most-effective defender.
In Season 5, he averaged 3.09 successful tackle points per game, which was second-best in the league. In the same season, he also had an incredible five High 5s for the Telugu Titans. Bhardwaj captained the Titans in season 6 at the age of 21. He continued his good form in season 7 as he scored 62 tackle points for his team and will look to achieve success with Puneri Paltan as well.
2. Ravinder Pahal – Rs 74 Lakhs (Gujarat Giants)
Nicknamed as ‘The Hawk’ for his sharp instincts in defence, Ravinder Pahal is easily the best right corner in the league at the moment. The 28-year-old has registered the second-most tackle points in Pro Kabaddi League history. In the Pro Kabaddi League, he has played in all six seasons.
Ravinder Pahal has been in top form since the start of his PKL career. He started a bidding war between the Puneri Paltan and the Gujarat Giants during the season 7 auction. At last, the former Dabang Delhi man was snapped up by the Giants for ₹74 lakhs. He will fortify their defence for the upcoming season.
1. PO Surjeet Singh- Rs 75 lakhs (Tamil Thalaivas)
Surjeet Singh is one of the best defenders in Kabaddi. He started his career for Puneri Paltan and plays in the right cover position. Surjeet is a razor-sharp defender who excels in blocking and slamming opponents on the mat. He is extremely good at stopping raiders who try to come deep in search of a bonus point, making him a dangerous opponent to face.
The 31-year-old is one of the most incisive defenders in the game and pounces on the first opportunity to score points. He scored a total of 66 tackle points last season. A lot of teams were showing interest in him, starting from the Bengaluru Bulls and Dabangg Delhi, but he finally ended up joining the Tamil Thalaivas for ₹75 lakhs. Surjeet will add valuable experience to the Thalaivas and will lead the team with his solid defending.