With the two-day auctions of the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League coming to an end, here's all you need to know about how the teams are shaping up and how well they performed at the auctions.
How they look: So-so.
Retaining Maninder Singh, Bengal's MVP since the last two seasons, was a good decision. Adding the emerging K Prapanjan to the equation is meant to help, but he couldn't live up to his potential at Gujarat Fortunegiants, often choking in crunch times. The inclusion of Iran's star defender Mohammad Nabibakhsh might help their cause, but what he'll lack is support - Jeeva Kumar and Sukesh Hegde weren't at their best in Season 6 - in what will be his debut PKL season.
What they did in Season 6: They finished second in Zone B. They eventually lost to Dabang Delhi in the eliminators; but they looked fairly lost throughout the tournament with captain Surjeet Singh erring in decision-making as well as defence, and no other raiders clicking other than Maninder.
Auction rating: 5/10.
How they look: The same.
Their core team is intact. Rohit Kumar, Pawan Sehrawat, Mahender Singh - all still there. Good sign? Definitely. However, what worked a little too well for them last year were Sehrawat's epic super raids, which might or might not work for them again this year. What they really needed was to invest in a good defender, a backup tor than Singh, and they haven't done that.
What they did in Season 6: They won. They might not have been the best team overall, but they had the best player of the season - Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. And he ensured the title was theirs, almost single-handedly.
Auction rating: 6/10.
Dabang Delhi KC
How they look: Identical, to be honest.
They retained Meraj Sheykh and captain Joginder Narwal. They bought back Chandran Ranjit, Vishal Mane and Ravinder Pahal. They built on this A-team, getting solid raiders in Ranjit and Sheykh, and dependable defenders in Mane, Narwal and Pahal. It looks like a promising year ahead for Delhi. If only they had cashed in a on a couple of newer players though...
What they did in Season 6: For the first time since Season 1, Delhi reached the play-offs stage in the tournament. Lost to UP Yoddha in the Eliminators.
Auction rating: 7/10.
How they look: A good mix of old and new.
They have managed to keep Sachin, Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal in the team, all of whom did very well in their run to the final last season. The additions of GB More and Abolfazl Maghsoudloumahali as support raiders with Sachin was much-needed and might prove to be a gamechanger for the team which has otherwise always relied on the latter.
What they did in Season 6: They made the finals for the second consecutive time. They've undoubtedly been the most consistent and well-rounded team in the PKL since their debut two years ago but the lack of a dependable second raider, other than Sachin, made them succumb to the Sehrawat raid machine in the final.
Auction rating: 7.5/10.
How they look: Alright-ish.
Retained raider Vikash Khandola, easily their most successful player last season. He will get able support from Prashanth Kumar Rai, who had a strong season with UP Yoddha last season. However, their defence looks weak, with only Kuldeep Singh as a proven name, and spending on the likes of raider K Selvamani and defender Vikas Kale -- both of whom have been under-performing over the last couple of seasons -- might turn out to be a bad decision.
What they did in Season 6: They had a bad season, finishing last in Zone A. Surender Nada failed to take to the mat, Monu Goyat couldn't live up to being the most expensive player and it all went downhill for the team.
Auction rating: 4/10.
Jaipur Pink Panthers
How they look: Balanced.
They retained the talented Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sandeep Dhull -- a very good move. Adding Deepak Narwal and Nilesh Salukhe as the two other top raiders in the team and supporting defender Amit Hooda, the side looks promising overall.
What they did in Season 6: Jaipur had a dull season last year. They finished second last in Zone A after a star-studded team comprising Hooda, Mohit Chhillar and Anup Kumar - who announced his retirement from the game after the team failed to make the play-offs - failed to make a mark.
Auction rating: 7/10.
How they look: Fantastic.
Pardeep Narwal now (finally) has some dependable support with Jang Kun Lee and Mohammad Maghsoudlou in their raiding squad. The defence too looks very good, with Surender Nada and Hadi Oshtorak likely to take the leads in the left and right corners respectively. Patna regular Jaideep's inclusion in the defence is a big positive too.
What they did in Season 6: Three-time champions Patna had a surprisingly disappointing season as the team failed to reach the play-offs for the first time in six seasons. Nothing worked for the team last year, even as Pardeep Narwal continued to maintain his remarkably-high scoring rate.
Auction ratings: 8/10.
How they look: Half baked.
The raiding team has the potential to be destructive. Nitin Tomar was unstoppable last year, before injury affected the rest of his season. Add ex-Patna Pirate Manjeet and they could form a potent combination. The defence looks a bit tardy though, with Surjeet Singh and Girish Ernak both having an off season last year.
What they did in Season 6: After a commendable performance in Season 5, Puneri finished fourth in Zone A, missing out on a play-offs spot by a relatively long distance. This year, they built from scratch -- the only team to do so.
Auction rating: 5/10.
How they look: Solid.
The main problem Ajay Thakur has had over the last couple of years as the Thalaiva's captain was the lack of a reliable second raider. The main problem Rahul Chaudhari has had was the lack of a strong leader. Chaudhari's acquisition looks to be the solution to both these problems, atleast on paper. With Manjeet Chhillar, Mohit Chhillar and Ran Singh helming the defence, this looks like the side to watch out for.
What they did in Season 6: They finished last in Zone B for the second consecutive time. Ajay Thakur was the sole player to perform well for the team -- their insipid displays saw them win only five of their 22 matches.
Auction rating: 9/10.
How they look: Imbalanced.
Raiding seems to be the sole responsibility of the most expensive purchase of the season, Siddharth Desai. And that could be a problem. The defence, though, looks solid with dependable names like Abozar Mighani, Farhad Rahimi Milaghardan, Krushna Madane, and Vishal Bhardwaj. And while they all might make a good starting seven, what they lack is bench-strength.
What they did in Season 6: They had a forgettable season as they finished second last in Zone B. Their raiders failed to make a mark, while their defence was weakened by injuries to key players.
Auction rating: 4/10.
How they look: Not good.
The dependable names only include star defender and probable captain Fazel Atrachali and all-rounder Sandeep Narwal. The rest of the team include lesser-known players, or players who have generally done better as support raiders, including Rohit Baliyan and Abhishek Singh. How they'll fare as the lead raiders is for time to tell.
What they did in Season 6: They made the play-offs and were constantly in the news for their consistent performances, especially coming via then debutante Siddharth Desai. They might just end up regretting their decision of not retaining him.
Auction rating: 3/10.
How they look: Pretty good.
The raiding team is star-studded, with Monu Goyat, Shrikant Jadhav and Rishank Devadiga adding a lot of muscle in that department. The defence is in safe hands too, with the retention of youngster Nitesh Kumar, the first defender in PKL history to score 100 tackle points, and Sachin Kumar, who has been growing from strength to strength.
What they did in Season 6: They had a very good season, finishing third in Zone A. They ended up finishing third, surpassing all expectations.
Auction rating: 8/10.