Who is the most valuable player in Pro Kabaddi League Season 6 (PKL6)?
The PKL6 playoffs are decided. Some teams got a bang for their buck and some certainly didn’t. In a closed auction, where every team has the same maximum spend, auction success often means tournament success. The key is to buy players at value and more importantly, make the player feel valuable through the course of the season.
"Teams that show restraint in auctions and have a player centric management have proven consistent across Leagues"
As noted by commentator Harsha Bhogle about the Chennai Super Kings, “There is something about Chennai Super Kings. They played in nine IPLs, they have made nine playoffs. I think time has come to study and see what Chennai Super Kings is doing right, because their place in history as a magnificent franchise is assured.”
Chennai Super Kings have always shown restraint in auctions and without doubt have a player run, player centric management.
Cost of a Point
We defined the cost any team incurs for a point a player gets. For instance, Pardeep Narwal has scored 228 points and has cost Patna Pirates Rs. 60.5 Lakhs out of their auction purse. So 60.5/228 which is 26,535 rupees per point.
The best defenders are contributing 70-80 points to their team, where as the best raiders contribute 250-300 points to their team. We scaled the defender points (by x 2.88 times) in order to compare defenders and raiders on the same scale. Cost of a point is a mercenary yet surprisingly insightful way to understand the results of PKL 6 in retrospect.
Spending 1 Cr+ raider breaks team balance
Let’s look at cost per point for all raiders who either scored 100 points or were paid more than 30 Lakhs. This gives us a list of 25 players. Let’s first take a look at the most valuable raiders - Naveen Kumar cost Dabang Delhi a measly Rs. 4,099 for every point he scored. Compare this to the average price per point, around Rs. 55,700. Naveen is young, played 90% of the matches Delhi played, and is arguably the single biggest reason Delhi has qualified for PKL play offs for the first time in their PKL career.
Coming to the next ranked valuable raiders, it goes without saying that Siddharth Desai and Pawan Sehrawat were the other steals for PKL6. They have been monumental in taking U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls comfortably to the playoffs. And although super star Pardeep Narwal was paid Rs. 61 Lakhs, he has still been truly invaluable to Patna Pirates, scoring points at just 26,500 rupees per point – half of the average cost.
The big surprises in the list of most valuable raiders are Vikas Kandola and Shrikant Jadhav. Under unlucky circumstances Surender Nada and Monu Goyat did not play in a large percentage of matches, other wise Haryana Steelers might have seen themselves through to the playoffs. Shrikant Jadhav and UP Yoddhas also missed out on having a fit Prashanth Rai and fit Rishank Devadiga for several matches.
Gujarat Fortunegiants were able to get out of Prapanjan what Tamil Thalaivas struggled to in PKL5. With Sachin and Prapanjan in ranks 7 and 8, Gujarat have their raiding sorted. Sachin also contributes by getting around 18% of points from tackles.
The worst ranked raiders include Rishank, Nitin Tomar and Monu Goyat – all of whom were paid a whopping 1.11-1.51 Cr. Rahul Chaudhary, the other expensive star raider proved pricey for the Telugu Titans at 74,500 rupees per point. Deepak Hooda, the other 1Cr+ player is the 11th worst raider. Deepak Hooda was the most valuable in the 1Cr gang. In summary, all teams that spent over Rs. 1Cr on a player have failed to make it to the playoffs. A obvious consequence of paying 30% of a team’s purse on a single player means rest of the team will often be under paid and likely, unsatisfied. The question is – does paying 25-30% of the purse on a single raider make sense? Even for Pardeep Narwal!
Left Corners and Right Covers are most valuable players
The cost of every point for defenders is almost twice as high for raiders. But that’s the nature of the job. We scaled the defender points by 2.88 to make them comparable to raiders. The average cost per point for a defender worked to 45,000 rupees per point.
The most valuable defender is a new young player (from PKL5) Nitesh Kumar who plays Right Corner for UP Yoddhas. With a corner firing and 3 prolific raiders, this season has been a bad miss for the Yoddhas. The young Titans captain from Himachal Pradesh, Vishal Bharadwaj, comes a close second, followed by Surinder Singh – right cover for U Mumba. That is 3 new young players from last season who lead the value ranks this season.
Then come the old war horses Manjeet Chhillar, the Hawk – Ravinder Pahal and Joginder Narwal who were turned a blind eye to in the recent auctions.
Gujarat Fortunegiants really aced the defenders chart with their steadfast covers Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar bringing home the points at 15k and 26k per point.
When it comes to Bengaluru Bulls, we often end up talking about Pawan Sherawat or Rohit Kumar. But Mahender Singh, who quietly holds fort in the left cover position, has been crucial in their wins while also being quite valuable.
U Mumba spent a lot on their corners, but they have delivered for their bill. Fazel Athrachali and Anna are costing them 45-46k per point this season. This is right where the average defender value stands.
The most expensive defenders included Ziaur Rahman and Surjeet Singh – both covers for Bengal Warriors. Zia who once held back Pardeep Narwal effectively in PKL5, has proven pricey this season.
Left Corners deliver most points for their bill
When we split the players by position, we find left corners bring in most points for their bill. Thus investing more in a left corner compared to right corner will be rational economic decision. On the other hand it is the right cover who brings the points and probably worth spending more on, of course only from an economist’s perspective!
The great Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”…and we certainly know who the hard-working ones in “overalls” are so far in PKL6 and along the way we’ve also found the ones that were a mighty investment at the auction but aren’t quite paying the interest pay to their teams!