A total of Rs. 50 crore was spent on 200 players in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 7 auction, which ended on Tuesday. Siddharth Desai's bid of Rs. 1.45 crore was the highest of Day 1, while the 44.75 lakh paid by Patna Pirates for Neeraj Kumar was the highest of Day 2.
Here are the biggest winners and losers, in terms of increase and decrease in players' bids with respect to last year.
(All figures in INR):
Siddharth Desai (Raider, U Mumba to Telugu Titans)
Desai racked up the numbers in his debut season. His 218 raid points out of 221 total points were scored at a strike rate of 67.91%, helping him reach 50 raid points in his fourth match, a PKL record. He won the best debutant award of the season, as well as a nomination for Emerging Sportsperson of the Year in the ESPN India Awards 2018.
2018 bid - 36.4 lakh
2019 bid - 145 lakh
Increase - 298.35%
Manjeet (Raider, Patna Pirates to Puneri Paltan)
Manjeet's 102 points from 22 matches made for a fine debut, perhaps standing out more than usual in a team missing Monu Goyat's services as support raider. He also chipped in with defence, pulling off a super tackle in scoring 15 tackle points.
2018 bid - 20.4 lakh
2019 bid - 63 lakh
Increase - 208.82%
Ravinder Pahal (Defender, retained by Dabang Delhi)
Scoring 59 tackle points in 22 matches, Pahal successfully converted close to half of his tackles using his preferred diving thigh fold. His performance, ninth-best in the season in tackle points, convinced Delhi to retain him for a fifth season with the team.
2018 bid - 20 lakh
2019 bid - 61 lakh
Increase - 205%
Parvesh Bhainswal (Defender, retained by Gujarat Fortunegiants)
Despite not having had any big-name raiders, Gujarat's consistency was down to their solid defence led by captain Sunil Kumar and Bhainswal. Gujarat's decision to retain Bhainswal was virtually a no-brainer, as he was second-best last season in number of tackle points (86) and successful tackles (82).
2018 bid - 35 lakh
2019 bid - 75 lakh
Increase - 114.28%
Mahender Singh (Defender, Bengaluru Bulls)
Nicknamed 'The Bulldozer' for his ability to employ the dash, which involves using one's momentum to muscle a defender out of bounds, to good effect, Mahender's retention was also an easy decision. It made even more sense given the defending champions were already well placed in the raiding department and needed to shore up their defence.
2018 bid - 40 lakh
2019 bid - 80 lakh
Increase - 100%
Notable mention: Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh
Iranian all-rounder Nabibakhsh received a massive bid of 77.75 lakh from Bengal Warriors for his first PKL appearance, making him the highest paid overseas player for this season.
Rishank Devadiga (Raider, retained by UP Yoddha)
Although he led UP as far as Qualifier 2 last season, Rishank's individual performance wasn't quite as impressive. He scored 104 points from 23 matches, not quite the return UP were hoping for, on the big bucks they shelled out for him last year.
2018 bid - 111 lakh
2019 bid - 61 lakh
Decrease - 45.04%
Monu Goyat (Raider, Haryana Steelers to UP Yoddha)
After playing a crucial role in Patna's run to the title in Season 5, the highest paid player in PKL history struggled to live up to expectations at Haryana as he never really adjusted to the role of lead raider. Monu returned 164 points from 20 matches, but an inability to get team combinations right saw Haryana finish bottom of the table.
2018 bid - 151 lakh
2019 bid - 93 lakh
Decrease - 38.41%
Vishal Mane (Defender, retained by Dabang Delhi)
In his first season with Delhi, Mane managed 38 tackle points in 22 matches at a relatively poor strike rate of 40%. His effort was good enough for just 29th place on the list of tackle points scored.
2018 bid - 45 lakh
2019 bid - 28.5 lakh
Decrease - 36.67%
Rahul Chaudhari (Raider, Telugu Titans to Tamil Thalaivas)
In Season 5, Chaudhari did well individually but struggled as captain as the Titans finished outside the playoff places. Although relieved of captaincy duties last season, his individual performance still dipped and the Titans once again failed to make the playoffs. And so, PKL's 'Raid Machine' finds himself with a team other than the Titans for the first time in his league career.
2018 bid - 129 lakh
2019 bid - 94 lakh
Decrease - 27.13%