Pro Kabaddi League: Iranian players to miss start of PKL 9

Mohammadreza Chiyaneh had the most tackles points in PKL Season 8 Pro Kabaddi League

The Pro Kabaddi League's ninth season (PKL9) begins on Friday. But the 13 Iranians - including some of the league's best players - registered with the teams will be missing at the start, due to visa issues.

A few Iranian players had come to India for their respective pre-season camps but went back home for a breather before the start of the season.

Nine of the 12 teams have at least one Iranian player.

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The fact that the Iranians are unavailable for the time being comes as a massive blow to the Puneri Paltan camp as they spent big money to rope in two of the most successful Iranians in PKL - Fazel Atrachali [₹1.38 crore] and Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh [₹87 lakh].

Fazel, who has been named Puneri Paltan's captain, is the most successful overseas player in PKL thus far and won the title with U Mumba in PKL2. Nabibakhsh, a superb all-rounder, led Bengal Warriors to the title in PKL7.

Three-time champions Patna Pirates will sorely miss their superstar defender Mohammadreza Shadloui for PKL 9. Shadloui, who was the League's best defender last season, was the only overseas player to be retained for PKL9.

Elsewhere, Haryana Steelers won't have their top foreign signing in defender Amirhossein Bastami, who they signed for ₹65.1 lakh.

ESPN has reached out to organisers, Mashal Sports, for comment.

The opening match of PKL9 will see defending champions Dabang Delhi take on former champions U Mumba. You can follow ESPN's full PKL9 coverage here.

List of teams with Iranian players

Bengal Warriors - Soleiman Pahlevani
Dabang Delhi - Reza Katoulinezhad
Haryana Steelers - Amirhossein Bastami, Mohammad Maghsoudlou
Jaipur Pink Panthers - Reza Mirbagheri
Patna Pirates - Mohammadreza Shadloui
Puneri Paltan - Fazel Atrachali, Mohammad Nabibakhsh
Telugu Titans - Hamid Nader, Mohsen Jafari
U Mumba - Heidarali Ekrami, Gholamabbas Korouki
UP Yoddha - Abozar Mighani