MUMBAI, MAY 30,
U Mumba’s ambitious bid of ?1 crore for Iranian defensive ace Fazel Atrachali cascaded into a bidding frenzy among the 12 franchises for Indians at the Pro Kabaddi 2018 player auction. Haryana Steelers led the way with ?1.51 crore for raider Monu Goyat. Telugu Titans secured Rahul Chaudhary for ?1.29 crore on a night when teams went for broke within the ?4 crore limit. Deepak Hooda, Nitin Tomar (?1.15 crore each by Jaipur Pink Panthers and Puneri Palthans), Rishank Devadiga (?1.11 crore, UP Yodhas) were the other highly-value purchases.
Five Indians crossing the crore mark in a single auction shows the rapid pace at which PKL is becoming an eye-catching indoor sporting package.
All-rounder Hooda will join a new franchise after three seasons at Paltans. Steelers stepped in for the India international with a ?87 lakh offer, resulting in Panthers raising the stakes and pushing him ahead of Atrachali, the highest overseas pro. Hooda, a member of the 2016 World Cup kabaddi winning side, said: “I feel a sense of happiness and responsibility on becoming the highest paid player in PKL. “After seeing the bid for Atrachali, I was prepared for a bid on similar lines. The move by Jaipur Pink Panthers took me by surprise and gives me joy as well,” adding that the cash will be spend on the welfare of his sister’s children. Iranians have gained a reputation for being impact players, impressing with muscle in attack and mettle in defence. U Mumba’s Atrachali deal eclipsed the ?93 lakh paid for Nitin Tomar last season by Yodhas, before the Panthers went all-out for Hooda, Pune chased Tomar and Yodhas proved that no price was too high for Devadiga.
Atrachali, who has previously turned out for U Mumba, said, “I am very happy to return to my second home, U Mumba. I have immense respect for the team, because it is where it all began for me. The fact that I beat the record for the league’s highest bid is truly an incredible feeling.”
MUMBAI, MAY 30,