It was another year of breathtaking action at the auction for the 10th edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The player auction occurred on October 9 and 10 at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai.
With 12 teams participating in the 2023 PKL, each of the franchises had a limit of a minimum of 18 players, and the upper limit was set at 25. We had started with an initial purse amount of 4 crores at the start of the auction after we retained six of our players from last season.
It ended up being one of the most exciting events on the Kabaddi calendar as we assembled a competitive team aiming to win our maiden Pro Kabaddi League title. Here is a breakdown of the list of players we bought and retained.
Fazel Atrachali: Iranian Defender - Rs. 1.60 CR
We start off with our marquee purchase first on this list. Fazel Atrachali who became the most expensive defender in the history of the Pro Kabaddi League, is also the captain of the Iran national team. The defender has also collected 424 tackle points in his PKL career so far.
He joins us after he led the Puneri Paltans in the league last season. Atrachali ended up being the 4th most expensive player in this year’s auction, as he returns after playing for us in the 2017 season.
Atrachali will lead us from the front and will be the cornerstone of our defence. The Iranian’s leadership qualities will be essential to any success that we achieve this season as he adds some much-needed international experience to our team.
Rohit Gulia: Indian All-Rounder - Rs. 58.50 lakhs
An Indian left-raider, Rohit Gulia is an experienced PKL player. He played for Patna Pirates in Season 9 of the PKL and joins us in Season 10 as our second most expensive buy. He returns to our roster after playing three seasons for us in Seasons 5,6 and 7.
He was also our captain during that period where he played 60 games in 3 seasons. Gulia played 19 matches last season earning a total of 69 points.
Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh: Iranian All-Rounder - Rs. 22 lakhs
Our second Iranian buy of this season, Nabibakhsh is another former Gujarat Giants player who returns to our roster after playing for other PKL franchises in the last couple of seasons. He was part of the Iran National Kabaddi Team that won the Gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games.
Nabibakhsh was a star all-rounder for Bengal Warriors in the 2019 and 2021 seasons where he earned a combined 230 points over those two seasons. After a below-par season 9 with the Puneri Paltan, he will look to get back to his best with us in the 10th edition of the PKL.
Arkam Shaikh: Indian All-Rounder - Rs. 20.25 lakhs
A player whom we retained after exercising our First Bid Match (FBM). After a successful campaign last time with us, Arkam Shaikh will continue to play for us for a second consecutive season. He played a total of 22 games last season earning 37 tackle points and 3 raid points.
Sombir: Indian Defender - Rs. 26.25 lakhs
Another experienced defender joined our ranks for season 10 of PKL when we purchased Sombir for what looked like a bargain price. Having played in the league for six seasons now, Sombir will be relied heavily upon alongside Atrachali.
Sourav Gulia: Indian Defender - Rs. 13 lakhs
The second player that we re-signed from last season alongside Arkam Shaikh was Sourav Gulia. After playing 16 matches for us last season, earning 35 points, 13 lakhs looks like a reasonable price for the Indian defender.
Deepak Rajender Singh: Indian Defender - Rs. 15.70 lakhs
Deepak Singh joins us after spending his first and only two seasons of the PKL so far with defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers. He played a total of 17 matches for them in two seasons with an average tackle strike rate of 24%.
Ravi Kumar: Indian Defender - Rs. 13.30 lakhs
Another experienced player joined our roster in the form of Ravi Kumar. The Indian defender joins us for Rs 13.30 lakhs and has an experience of eight years in the Pro Kabaddi League.
He had his best season with the Haryana Steelers in 2019 after he scored a decent 52 points in just 21 matches.
More G B: Indian Raider - Rs. 13 lakhs
Another former Giant who returns for us. More who played just one season with us in 2019, will once again look to get back to his best after two underwhelming seasons. In his only season with us, More played 19 matches earning a stunning 86 points for us.
Balaji D: Indian All-Rounder - 13 lakhs
Bought from the Category C set of players in this auction, Balaji is another promising player that we have signed for the upcoming season, with two years of experience under his belt in the PKL.
Three players were signed from Category D for a combined value of 27 lakhs - Jitender Yadav(All-Rounder), Nitesh(Defender) and Jagdeep(Raider). Vikas Jaglan, the Indian all-rounder was also purchased for a decent price of 13 lakhs.
Manuj: Indian Defender
Indian defender Manuj was retained by us ahead of the 10th season. He played 10 matches for us last campaign, earning 10 points with a tackle strike rate of 30%.
Parteek Dahiya: Indian Raider
After an exceptional debut season in the PKL with us, it was a no-brainer that we retained Parteek Dahiya. In just 19 matches that he played, Parteek earned a stunning 183 points with a Raid Strike Rate of 74%.
Sonu Jaglan: Indian Raider
Sonu Jaglan has been an excellent squad player for us in the past couple of seasons and his all-round abilities have been crucial for us at times. He played for us in Seasons 7 and 9, with a combined 29 matches under his belt during that time. The Indian Raider has also earned a total of 122 points during that time for us and fans will be expecting more of that from the talented Raider.
Rakesh: Indian Raider
Another no-brainer in terms of retained players was Rakesh. With nearly 280 points in the last two seasons for us, the Indian Raider was one the leading players with the most number of points in the league.
Other retained players for us this season include Rohan Singh and Nitin.
It was a fruitful auction for us overall with many stars brought in along with a mix of promising youngsters, as we look to clinch our first PKL title.