Missing seven: 'Dubki King', 'Baahubali' and other big absentees

Gujarat Fortunegiants 48-38 Telugu Titans (3:52)

Gujarat Fortunegiants beat Telugu Titans 48-38 in the PKL on Monday. (3:52)

While the final week of the Pro Kabaddi League, set to begin on Monday, promises some high-voltage action between the top-six teams in the playoffs, some stand-out players from the bottom six will be inevitably missed.

ESPN looks at seven of the most notable absentees.

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1: Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates)

One of the most prominent names of the PKL, Pardeep has set a new benchmark for himself season after season. Even though his team - three-time champions Patna Pirates -- are out of the playoffs for just the second time in seven seasons, Pardeep has continued to raise his individual game. The 'dubki king' intently watched along as Bengaluru Bulls' Pawan Kumar Sehrawat broke his record for the most points in a match - which stood at 34 points - scoring 39 points. It didn't come as a surprise thereafter when Pardeep increased his best tally in a match to 36 points in the very next, and Patna's final match itself. Need we say more?

2: Siddharth Desai (Telugu Titans)

Desai's performances for Telugu Titans this season proved that he is more than a one-season wonder. He had a lot of pressure going into the season - coming back from a shoulder injury and a subsequent surgery that made his previous team, U Mumba, to not retain him. He went home with the highest bid at the auctions. He was, technically, the only 'experienced' raider in his team too - even though he only made his debut in the previous season, which added to the pressure early on in the season. However, Desai -- popularly referred to as 'Baahubali' -- managed to take it in his stride, finishing among the top five raiders of the season in spite of his team's dismal outing.

3: Deepak Niwas Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers)

Captain Hooda and his Jaipur team missed the playoffs by a narrow margin. Finishing seventh in the table, Jaipur would rue their eight-match winless streak in between that cost them a spot in the top six. However, the PKL's inaugural winners showed potential after years of struggle, key to which was Hooda's captaincy and reliable raiding. He led the team's offence from the front, finishing as the top scorer for his team for the third successive season.

4: Vishal Bhardwaj (Telugu Titans)

Bhardwaj's solid outing as a defender was overshadowed by the Titans' disappointing season. Playing just 19 matches of 22, Bhardwaj surpassed several big names from the top-six teams, including Bengal Warriors' Baldev Singh and Dabang Delhi KC's Ravinder Pahal - who played more matches than him - to finish among the top six defenders of the season with 62 points. Bhardwaj's ankle holds and blocks were very hard to crack for any raider - no wonder he scored the highest number of Super Tackles this season, a stunning nine.

5: Rohit Gulia (Gujarat Fortunegiants)

What went wrong with Gujarat? No one quite knows. They had a season that was pretty much the opposite of their previous two campaigns, in which they finished as runner-ups twice. However, Gulia was the silver lining. The all-rounder, who was originally a support raider for the team's lead raider Sachin, went on to provide some much-needed stability to the team's offence. Nothing was clicking for Gujarat but Gulia, who put in one steady performance after another, eventually finishing as his team's leading scorer by some distance.

6: Sandeep Kumar Dhull (Jaipur Pink Panthers)

The experienced Dhull was in his element throughout Jaipur's season. With him in the defence, along with Hooda in the offence, Jaipur had a decent season despite their failure to make the top-six. Scoring a massive 73 tackle points in 22 matches, Dhull had his most successful outing as a left corner since his debut in Season 3. His improvement can be judged just by looking at his previous-best tally that stood at 67, from an equal number of matches in Season 6.

7: Surjeet Singh (Puneri Paltan)

Singh, one of the most experienced players of the PKL, had a relatively bad season last year. Playing 23 matches, he scored 54 tackle points and made several sloppy mistakes from the right cover position that cost Bengal several points. This led the team to let go of him for the first time since Season 5. There weren't too many expectations from him when Puneri Paltan signed him, mainly because Anup Kumar's appointment as coach and crorepati Nitin Tomar's re-acquisition dominated the headlines. However, proving everyone wrong, Surjeet not just finished among the top-five defenders of the season but went on to improve his tally to 63 - surprising the best of raiders with his signature dashes.

Honourable mentions: Pankaj Mohite (Puneri Paltan), V Ajith Kumar (Tamil Thalaivas) and Manjeet (Puneri Paltan)