PKL7 Auctions Day 1 (Zone A): How teams stack up for next season
It was day where Iranians arrived, and boy, in what-aa-y style!! Iran had given us a glimpse of what they were capable of in Dubai Kabaddi Masters (defeating Pakistan and eventually crashing out to India but with a fight) and in the Asian Games 2018 (where the won the elusive gold medal). This event obviously paved may to more Iranian talent in this Indian league, which we got to see today.
Some interesting names, like Zia, Takamitsu Kono (known as Monk for his zen-ness) were also missing from this list, but the most interesting part of choosing from the list of foreigners was the unanimous agreement of all the franchise to pick Iranians. There was a bidding war for Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibaksh the best raider of Iran team that played the kabaddi masters, who was picked at a whooping 77.75 Lakhs. Would he deliver value to the franchise, is something we have to wait and watch.
A total of 4287 lakhs was spent on 136 players today at the PKL 7 auctions in Mumbai. Follow PKL 7 auction right here.
How teams fared at the end of Day1, PKL7 Auctions?
Pune was a strong team in season 5 but in season 6 their outing was not successful owing to injuries to its key players, so they had entered this auction with a fresh look after having signed on captain cool (Anup Kumar) as their head coach. Today they used their FBM card to perfection and got back Girish Ernak (their lead left corner) at a steal and fortified their cover with Surjeet (who was part of this team in the early days of the league). Pune used its other FBM card to get Nitin Tomar at his fair value (who had a great run until he was injured and mid way in the league last season).
- Total Players: 11 (9 Indian + 2 Iranians)
- Purse: 84.97 Lakhs (min 7 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Shubam Shinde (Hadi Tajik)
- Left Corner: Girish Ernak
- Right Cover: PO Surjeet
- Left Cover: Sandeep Bholu
- Left Raider: Nitin Tomar, Pawan Kadiyan,
- Right Raider: Manjeet, Darshan,
- Reserve: Emad Sdagat Nia, Amit Kumar (who got a 4 point raid with Patna)
Assessment: They have considerably increased their raiding depth and the left side of defense is also pretty sorted, but they still need to spend wisely in picking a good left cover and a good right corner. Missing Mohit and experienced players like Anna in the auction today meant they have to enter day 2 with some homework.
Pune had gotten better of UMumba in the last 6 outings, and Sandeep Narwal played a pivotal role defensively to ensure Pune stayed ahead. Also, in the match against Haryana Steelers in Season 6 where he single handedly chased down a massive 15+ lead points in second half clearly shows what this man is capable as a raider. UM was coming into the auction with a strong left corner and a good right cover. They started their auction well by picking Dong Lee and Young Chang Ko at Base price, but their ambitious buy (Sandeep at 89 Lakhs) has definitely raised some eyebrows; but undoubtedly this is the most scariest corner defense any team is going to have in seasons to come
- Total Players: 11 (8 Indians + 1 Iranians, 2 S.Korean)
- Purse: 79.06 Lakhs (min 7 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Sandeep Narwal
- Left Corner: Fazel
- Right Cover: Surender (Rajguru Subramanian)
- Left Cover: Young Chang Ko
- Left Raider: Dong Lee, Rohit Baliyan
- Right Raider: Arjun Deshwal
- Reserve: Mohit, Gaurav and Anil
Assessment: UM raiding looks weak, they miss a raider who can go for 16 raids and get 0.5 points per raid. Sandeep has to provide them this balance by chipping in the raid department to ensure they play Arjun, Dong Lee and Rohit Baliyan as its leading raiders and a lot of squad building. Also, any injury to Sandeep might be critical to the team (unless the NYPs rise up to the occasion)
Jaipur Pink Panthers:
Amit Hooda was a key defender in their last successful outing in Season 4, Sandeep Dhull's Telugu Titans playing with Jaipur lost to them in semi-finals in Season 4. This season, Jaipur has both of them as their corners. They managed to get their cover Sunil at a base price and had retained most of its raiding, which came good in the last leg of season 6.
- Total Players: 15 (8 Indians + 1 S.Korean, 1 SriLankan)
- Purse: 46.13 Lakhs (min 3 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Amit Hooda, Santanapaselvam
- Left Corner: Dhull
- Right Cover: Sunil Siddagavalli
- Left Cover: Dong Gyu Kim
- Left Raider: Nitin Rawal, Deepak Niwas Hooda
- Right Raider: Deepak Narwal, Pawar, Nilesh
- Reserve: Lokesh, Sushil, Sachin Narwal, Pawan TR, Malinda Chaturnaga)
Assessment: Amit, Sandeep and Nitin Rawal are all good defenders who have shown independent flashes of brilliance, but will they work together as unit and not leak points in defense is something we need to watch. Also, Deepak Hooda's failure in DOD raids and his ability to score points in death is something that Jaipur has to work on. They may still want to buy a good left cover who can play the entire season.
Dabang Delhi came into the auction with a clear message, their standing last season in the table was not luck, so, they got the same unit back - a unit that has delivered exceptional results last season. They released Pahal (recent record post PKL is good - a lot of title wins) and managed to get him back by using their FBM card against Tamil Thaliavas.
- Total Players: 10 (8 Indians + 2 Iranians)
- Purse: 70.07 Lakhs (min 10 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Pahal
- Left Corner: Joginder Narwal
- Right Cover: Vishal Mane
- Left Cover: Saeid Ghaffari
- Left Raider: Chandran Ranjit
- Right Raider: Naveen, Meeraj
- Reserve: Vijay, Sumit, Aman
Assessment: The positive of this team is that the defense has a lot of experience, the raiding looks complete but an Iranian cover has to come good for this squad to hold up defensively. They might still look for Satpal Narwal as a backup for Pahal and Viraj as predominant left cover.
Gujarat Fortunegiants will again be the strong defensive unit, but will they be as successful as last time? They used their FBM card to perfection to get back Parvesh. Hopefully we will get to see their tutorials on chain tackles once again (especially when they are inflicted on a raider like Sid Desai). They started the day pretty strongly by replacing Dong Lee with AboFazel at a 15Lac (value buy), and the rest of the auction they kept trying for better corners like Ran Singh, Girish, Sandeep - but struck to basics and got their main player back. Their value pick of the day was Vinod Kumar who had a great season with UM last year.
- Total Players: 9 (7 Indians, 1 Iranian, 1 Bangladeshi)
- Purse: 104.99 (min 9 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Rituraj
- Left Corner:
- Right Cover: Sunil Kumar
- Left Cover: Parvesh Bhainswal
- Left Raider: Rohit Gulia
- Right Raider: Sachin, Abofazel
- Reserve: Vinod Kumar, Lalit, Md. Shahid Hosein
Assessment: They have spent their purse wisely on players and not overspending on any players, by clever retentions and good auction skills. They will come to day 2 looking for a battery of left raiders, and a main left corner and backup for this position. If any team can upset this plan, Manpreet (head coach) will have to work extra hard to get to that finals and win it.
Haryana had a costliest raider in the league in PKL6, the price tag was so high that his performance was an exponential decline. This year, they were clear that they would not buy back their lead raider at any price and also not go for Nada. Like Pune, they were also coming with a new coach, Rakesh Kumar. A legend of the game, the head coach of steelers, thought wisely and got Anna, which was the steal of the auction. Anna can work with Malek and the young defenders on the mat and control the game nicely.
- Total Players: 11 (9 Indians, 1 Thai, 1 Iranian)
- Purse: 128.56 (min 7 players to be bought)
- Right Corner: Sunil/Anna
- Left Corner: Amir Hossein Mohammadmaleki, Kuldeep Singh
- Right Cover: Ravi
- Left Cover:
- Left Raider: Vikas Kandola, Prasanth Kumar Rai
- Right Raider:
- Reserve: Arun Kumar, Vinay, Parveen, Phonchoo Tim
Assessment: Overall looks like an improved unit than their last outing, but a good left cover and back up corner (either) is needed. Also they lack a bit of sting in their raiding unit - so they would have to look for atleast 3 raiders on day 2.