We look ahead to the Auction of Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 5, taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of May at 1:30PM BST. If you want to know more about what Pro Kabaddi is, then check out this article: ProKabaddi Season 5 Announced.
- There are 12 teams this year, Bengal warriors, Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Patna Pirates, Puneri Paltan, Telugu Titans, U Mumba and 4 new teams, from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. The 4 new teams have yet to announce their team name, much to my annoyance!
- Although rumors suggest the team from Harayana will be called Harayana Steelers.
How does the Auction Work?
Players are sorted into 3 categories, A, B and C, depending on how good the player is at Kabaddi. The best players are placed in category A, great players in category B, and good players in category C. The players are then split into foreign players and players that are from India.
The India players have yet two more categories, one for upcoming young talent and another for services players. Services players, are players that come from India’s defence service.
On 22nd May there will be an auction for the 48 foreign players, India’s category A players and the services players. On 23rd May there will be an auction for India’s category B and C players, as well as the new young players.
As with any auction the team that bids the highest price for a player will add the player to their squad! Teams will have a minimum of 18 players, but a maximum of 25, and must include at least 2 foreign and youth players.
The 8 original teams had a choice to retain one player from their Season 4 squad. Of these, Jaipur Pink Panthers have decided not to retain a player.
No doubt the surprise came from Bengaluru Bulls, who retained a young talent in the form of Ashish Kumar instead of retaining either of star defenders Mohit Chillar or Surenda Nada. I think the Bulls have missed a trick here, and they will need to spend big if they want to compete next season!
Bengal Warriors overlooked captain Nilesh Shinde and decided to retain Korea’s star raider Jang Kun Lee, a correct decision in my opinion, no doubting JKL’s talent as he almost single handedly beat India in the Group Stage of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Dabang Delhi have decided to retain Iran’s star player Meraj Sheykh, who took Iran all the way to the final of the 2016 Kabaddi world cup. He’s a star all rounder and no doubting his leadership skills.
Patna Pirates retained star raider Pardeep Narwal, who was the top raider last season, no surprises here!
Puneri Paltan overlooked both Manjeet Chillar and Ajay Thakur to retain Deepak Niwas Hooda, all 3 were part of India’s 2016 Kabaddi World Cup success and thus this was a hard decision for Pune. As much as I love Deepak I can’t help but think that Ajay Thakur would be the man to have for next season, as he scored 10+ points in the world cup final. A man for the big occasion no doubt.
Telugu Titans retained the much loved Rahul Chaudhari, as well as being an explosive raider, he’s a fantastic marketing asset. A good decision all round for Telugu.
U mumba retained India’s captain Anup Kumar, a no brainer really, Anup possesses the ability to turn a game on its head with his calm attitude to raiding. A fantastic player, even at the age of 33.
Which players to look out for?
Starting with the Indian players, there are many category A players however I pick out a notable few who could make the difference.
The star raider is no doubt Ajay Thakur, with him in your team you have every chance of winning, however other notable raiders include Rishank Devadiga, Jasvir Singh and Sukesh Hegde. Rishank has performed well in the last 3 seasons and could consider himself unfortunate to miss out on India’s World Cup squad. Jasvir has been Jaipur’s star player for all 4 seasons and still has a lot to offer and Sukesh Hegde is a Do-or-die specialist and can be a worthy asset in any team.
The best corner defenders include Mohit Chillar, Surenda Nada and Ravinder Pahal, the first two of which are seasoned pros and can pull off a tackle at any time. Don’t forget about Dharmaraj Cheralathan, although he may be 41 years old, he’s a fantastic defender and he has bags of experience which will be useful in this new season.
As for the cover defenders, no doubt about the top two in Jeeva Kumar and Vishal Mane. Cover defenders usually miss a lot of tackles, but these two tackle their way to more than 40% tackle success rate.
Finally the pick of the all rounders are Manjeet Chillar, Rakesh Kumar and Sandeep Narwal. All 3 were picked for India at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. And each have the ability to play almost anywhere on the field. No doubt the experience of Rakesh and Manjeet will make bidders favour towards them, but Sandeep Narwal has youth on his side.
What about the Foreign Players?
Ending with the foreign players, since Meraj and JKL have already been retained, that leaves Fazel Atrachali as the only foreign category A player. Fazel is a class defender and whoever snaps him up has done well.
The Iranians stand out from the category B players each of which would be a solid addition, the Thai pairing of Khomsan Thongkham and Phonchoo Tin helped Thailand reach the semi finals of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and would be fantastic additions for squad depth.
Other notable players include Poland’s captain Michal Spiczko, who has experience playing with Bengaluru Bulls in Season 3 as well as leading Poland to two wins at the Kabaddi World Cup. Kenya’s David Mosambayi and James Obilo a raider and defender respectively, and Korea’s defender Gyung Tae Kim, all of which had a great World Cup.
There are 4 England players up for auction this season, all of which are category C players, England captain Someshwar Kalia, Meredydd Rix, Tope Adewalure, and Tejash Depala. We wish them good luck in the auction and we hope that they all get snapped up by one of the 12 teams!
Stay tuned to receive all the lowdown from the auction later this week…