Star raider Siddharth Desai became the second-most expensive player in the history of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) auction as Iranian kabaddi players dominated the first phase.
Most of the franchises showed interest in Iranian players and were involved in intense bidding. First overseas player to go under the hammer was Iranian defender Abozar Mohajermighani who was retained by the Telugu Titans using their first 'Final Match Bid' option.
Telugu Titans secured Desai's services as they pocketed him for a whopping Rs 1.45 crore. Desai had a sensational debut outing last season as he picked 218 raid points from just 21 games.
As expected, as soon as the Maharashtra raider, whose base price was Rs 30 lakh, went under the hammer, Tamil Thalaivas made a direct bid of Rs 1 crore after which several franchise fought hard to rope in Desai. However, it was the Titans who finally succeeded in bringing him home.
Desai holds the record of being the fastest in PKL history to reach 50 raid points and is also the first rookie to score 200 raid points in a season. He was sold for Rs 36 lakh last year to U Mumba.
Monu Goyat is still the costliest buy in the history of the league after the raider was bagged by Haryana Steelers for Rs 1.51 crore last year.
Raid Machine Rahul Chaudhari will team up with Ajay Thakur for Tamil Thalaivas in the next season.
When Indian all-rounders came into the mix of things, Ran Singh was the first player on the block and ultimately the Patna Pirates managed to snap up the former Bengal Warriors’ player. In what was a precursor for things to come, Sandeep Narwal’s signature became the day’s second hotly contested battle and it was U Mumba who emerged victorious in securing his services.
Next up, it was the Indian defenders who were up for grabs and the Tamil Thalaivas seemed all set to have acquired Ravinder Pahal but Dabang Delhi K.C. swept in and used their Final Bid Match card to retain the Right Corner for the upcoming campaign.
The auctions for foreign players started with a bang on Monday, as the first player named in the list, Abozar Mighani, drew everyone's attention with most of the franchisee trying their hands to rope in the Iranian defender.
Gujarat Fortune Giants were the first to bid for Abozar before Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors got involved for the Iranian. While U Mumba and Haryana Steelers, too, joined the bidding war, it looked like Patna Pirates would have the last laugh with their whopping Rs 75 lakh bid.
However, they couldn't succeed as Telugu Titans exercised their Final Bid Match (FBM) right to rope in the Iranian for the second straight season.
Abozar's compatriot Mohammad Nabibaksh also drew a lot of attention when placed under the hammer. After some frenzied bidding by the franchisee, all-rounder Nabibaksh, who had a base price of just Rs 10 lakh, was finally bagged by Bengal Warriors for a massive sum of Rs 77.75 lakh, making him the costliest foreign recruit this season.
Surprisingly, Bengal Warriors showed no interest in retaining star South Korean raider Jang Kun Lee, as Patna Pirates bought him for Rs 40 lakh. Lee had spent the previous six seasons with Bengal Warriors and was a lethal weapon in their armory. Lee is the top-scoring foreigner in the league's history with 433 points.
Meanwhile, it became clear that Patna Pirates wanted to boost its raiding as after Lee, they bagged Iranian all-rounder Hadi Oshtorak for Rs 16 lakh.
Another Iranian raider, Mohammad Maghsoudlou, attracted interest from U Mumba and Bengal Warriors in the early bids before they were joined by Haryana Steelers. But yet again, Patna Pirates had the last laugh as they picked Maghsoudlou for Rs 35 lakh.
Despite the auctions featuring players from several countries, even from the United States, the Iranians dominated the proceedings from start to finish as another Iranian, Amir Hossein, found home in Haryana Steelers.
His compatriot Saeeb Ghafari, a young defender, was pocketed by Dabang Delhi for Rs 16.5 lakh.
Apart from the Iranians, the South Koreans, too, attracted some interest. U Mumba and and Haryana Steelers locked horns for Korean raider Dong Geon Lee before the former roped him in for Rs 25 lakh. U Mumba also took home another South Korean, Young Chang Ko, for Rs 10 lakh.
UP Yoddha then bagged Iran's Mohsen for Rs 21 lakh while defending champions Bengaluru Bulls roped in Nepal's Lal Manohar Yadav for Rs 10 lakh.