After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pro Kabaddi is scheduled to return in December with the eighth edition. And for that, we will have the player auction between August 29 and 31.

With an eye to allow teams to refresh their rosters and remain competitive, Pro Kabaddi undertakes a major auction ahead of almost every season where teams only retain a handful of players and release most back in the auction pool. A team is allowed to retain only six players who don’t belong to the New Young Player category, a pool that consists of junior players who haven’t played the league before and are scouted through Pro Kabaddi’s talent drive.

Ahead of the upcoming auction, 59 players were retained among the 12 teams, out of which 22 belong to the elite domestic player category. A total of 161 players have been released most of who will be back in the auction pool.

Here’s a brief overview of the auction rules and format.

Auction overview

Players and player categories:

  •   More than 450 players have registered for the auction. The players have been categorised into three main categories according to their experience levels and nationality. The three main categories are a) domestic, b) New Young Players and c) Overseas.   
  •   Domestic players are further divided into categories. There are four categories that players can be a part of (A, B, C, D). Players in Category A have the highest base price of INR 30 lakhs; B is Rs 20 lakhs; C is Rs 10 lakhs, and D is Rs 6 lakhs.  

Team composition:

  • Every team can have a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 25 players in the squad including the retained players. 
  • It is mandatory for every team to include at least two and a maximum of four overseas players. 
  • Teams have a total player purse of Rs 4.4 crore to use for buying players. A player’s salary for the season is determined by the maximum bid placed on the player. This purse, however, will be smaller with the number of retentions a team makes ahead of the auction.  

Final Bid Match rule: The Final Bid Match rule allows teams to match the final bid on players from the pool who were a part of their squad in the previous season.

The FBM card can be used only twice by each team. However, this number depends on their number of retentions. If a team chooses to retain their maximum allotted 6 players then they cannot exercise this option. If they retain five they can use this option once and if the number is lower than five they can use it twice.

Where do the teams stand?

Jaipur Pink Panthers have retained the most number of players while Tamil Thalaivas have the fewest players on their roster ahead of the auctions.

Here’s where each team stands:

Bengal Warriors

Elite Retained Players

Maninder Singh - Raider

Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh - All Rounder

Rinku Narwal - Defender

Retained Young Players

Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat - Raider

What they have: Defending champions have retained their best players from last season in Maninder Singh and Mohammed Nabibakhsh and have also held onto Rinku Narwal who is a fine all-rounder even though he is listed as a defender.

What they need: Having released Baldev Singh, the Warriors need a new defence line and will have to invest heavily in that area. The raiding department is already strong and only needs a bit more depth.

Bengaluru Bulls

Elite Retained Players

Pawan Kumar Sehrawat - Raider

Amit Sheoran - Defender

Existing New Young Players

Saurabh Nandal - Defender

Banty - Raider

Mohit Sehrawat - Defender

What they have: In Pawan Sehrawat, they have a one-man raiding unit. Defender Amit Sheoran also displayed his qualities in season seven and it was smart thing to retain him.

What they need: An experienced defender who can organise the young defenders in the squad and get them to play as a unit. Also Sehrawat needs a support raider as the league has shown time and again that the main raiders aren’t as effective without good support raiders.

Dabang Delhi

Elite Retained Players

Vijay - All Rounder

Neeraj Narwal - Raider

Retained Young Players

Naveen Kumar - Raider

Existing New Young Players

Balram - All Rounder

Sumit - Defender

Mohit - Defender

What they have: Plenty of youthful exuberance in the team with the team retaining six youngsters. Naveen Kumar though is the standout and will lead their raiding department. Vijay also proved to be really handy all-rounder last time out and is a solid retention.

What they need: Experience. Dabang Delhi’s strength last season was their experience and leadership. In Joginder Narwal, Vishal Mane and even Meraj Sheykh they had loads of experience that helped them reach their first-ever final. The key for the team in the auctions will be to build a new leadership group that can take the pressure off Naveen.

Gujarat Giants

Elite Retained Players

Parvesh Bhainswal - Defender

Sunil Kumar - Defender

Existing New Young Players

Harmanjeet Singh - Raider

Sumit - Defender

Ankit - Defender

What they have: A strong defence. In Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar, the Giants have probably the league’s best centre chain or cover combination. The two cousins were also instrumental in helping Indian Railways win three straight national championships.

What they need: Raiders. The Giants have never had a high-profile raiding department and have always relied on raiders who have variety and do well as a pack than bring in big names. But having decided to move on from Sachin Tanwar, the Giants will have to focus on signing the right raiders in the auction.

Haryana Steelers

Elite Retained Players

Vikash Kandola - Raider

Existing New Young Players

Vinay - Raider

Vikas Chillar - Raider

Chand Singh - Defender

What they have: Vikash Khandola is one of the most skillful raiders in Pro Kabaddi and has been the star for the Haryana Steelers team in the past few seasons. Retaining him was a no-brainer.

What they need: A lot of things. The Steelers have work to do everywhere, but especially the defence. Khandola has never been the lead raider at the franchise and hence, they will have to add more experienced raiders to the team so that they can share the burden of points and also lend some advice to Khandola.

Jaipur Pink Panthers

Elite Retained Players

Amit Hooda - Defender

Vishal - Defender

Retained Young Players

Nitin Rawal - All Rounder

Existing New Young Players

Sachin Narwal - All-rounder

Pavan TR - Defender

Sushil Gulia - Raider

Elavarasan A - Defender

What they have: A solid corner defender in Amit Hooda. Quality corner defenders are rare and Jaipur Pink Panthers have one of those positions sorted. In Nitin Rawal, they have an all-rounder with a lot of potential.

What they need: A new raiding department. Jaipur Pink Panthers have often had the right players but have struggled to combine them into a good team. With a clean slate, they can now pick players who have better chances of combining well.

Patna Pirates

Elite Retained Players

Neeraj Kumar - Defender

Monu - Raider

Existing New Young Players

Sahil Mann - All Rounder

Rajveersinh Pratap Rao Chavan - Raider

Mohit - Raider

What they have: A lot of young players have shown promise but haven’t delivered on a consistent basis. Having a younger squad has often proved to be beneficial in the new longer seasons and that might be at the heart of Patna Pirates’ thinking.

What they need: Pardeep Narwal’s replacement. Releasing him was a big call and they need to find an elite raider or a combination of raiders who can fill that void. They also need new experienced heads, especially in defence.

Puneri Paltan

Elite Retained Players

Balasaheb Shahaji Jadhav - Defender

Pawan Kumar Kadian - Raider

Hadi Tajik - Defender

Existing New Young Players

Sanket Sawant - Defender 

Pankaj Mohite - Raider

What they have: Some good young defenders in Hadi Tajik, Balasaheb Jadhav and good promising young raiders in Pawan Kadian and Pankaj Mohite.

What they need: An elite raider to lead the youngsters in the squad and a few experienced defenders who can organise the defence.

Tamil Thalaivas

Existing New Young Players

Sagar - Defender

Himanshu - Defender

M Abishek - Defender

What they have: Young blood in defence.

What they need: Pretty much everything. With no elite player retentions, the Thailaivas have it all to do in the auction. Having focussed on big names last time, the Chennai outfit could do by mixing up some good young and experienced players.

Telugu Titans

Elite Retained Players

Rakesh Gowda - Raider

Retained Young Players

Ankit Beniwal - Raider

Rajnish - Raider

Existing New Young Players

Manish - Defender

Akash Choudhary - Defender

Akash Dattu Arsul - Defender

What they have: Two young promising raiders in Rajnish and Rakesh Gowda.

What they need: Two lead raiders who can carry the burden of the raiding department and also guide the young raiders in the team. A new defensive line-up.

U Mumba

Elite Retained Players

Abhishek Singh - Raider

Ajinkya Rohidas Kapre - All Rounder

Harendra Kumar - Defender

Fazel Atrachali - Defender

Existing New Young Players

Navneet - Raider

What they have: A top quality leader and defender in Fazel Atrachali. Two excellent young raiders in Abhishek Singh and Ajinkya Kapre.

What they need: Raiders who could form a portent combination with Abhishek Singh and Kapre and a right corner and cover defenders.

UP Yoddha

Retained Young Players

Nitesh Kumar - Defender

Existing New Young Players

Sumit - Defender

Ashu Singh - Defender

Surinder Gill - Raider

What they have: An elite defender and a captain in Nitesh Kumar. He has great understanding with Sumit and that combination will serve them well in defence. Surinder Gill is also a top raider.

What they need: A lead raider who can partner with Surinder and an experienced player who could take the pressure off young captain Nitesh.