Other Sports

Rakesh Kumar gets the highest bid

Indian Railways’ Rakesh Kumar, a multiple gold medallist at the Asian Games and World Cup, hit the jackpot at the inaugural ProKabaddi League auction here on Tuesday.

A number of franchises showed keen interest on the 34-year-old ‘raider’ of the Indian team, but eventually the Patna franchise made a successful bid at 12.80 lakh. In all, a dozen ‘A’ category players and one ‘B’ category player was sold in excess of 10 lakh.

Four Pakistani players were also in the picture. The Telugu Titans purchased Atif Waheed (Government of Pakistan) and Wajid Ali (Pakistan Navy) for four lakh each. Patna bought Waseem Sajjad (Pakistan Army) for 5.20 lakh and Jaipur Pink Panthers bought Nasir Ali (Pakistan Army) for four lakh.

The eight teams picked 12 players each.

“The auction was fabulous. The eight teams are balanced and will compete for two seasons. The payments will be made before the start and conclusion of the league. The teams will have access to replacement players, though not much in the ‘A’ category,” said a delighted Charu Sharma, managing director, Mashal Sports, which is a key promoter of the league.

A happy Rakesh said, “This is a wonderful initiative by the federation for the benefit of all players and the sport across the globe. This is a real game-changer in the field of professional kabaddi, and a huge step towards building an infrastructure that will allow people to make a living through the sport they all love.

“While being delighted to receive a phone call to let me know of my good fortune, I also look forward to the quality of play I shall be exposed to.”

The ProKabaddi League has become a high-profile event with the likes of Anand Mahindra (chairman and MD of Mahindra & Mahindra) privately coming on board to promote the trail-blazing league along with Piyush Pandey (Ogilvy & Mather), Rajiv Luthra (Luthra & Luthra Law Offices) and Charu Sharma (managing director, Mashal Sports).

Others central to the launch of the league were STAR Sports, World Sport Group, International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI).

The eight franchises, assisted by an expert group of former players and coaches, spent almost the entire player-purse of 60 lakh each. The Bengal Warriors has a balance of 2.60 lakh, with U Mumba 60,000.

Arjuna awardee Raju Bhavsar said, “It is heart-warming to see how far this sport has progressed, the difference almost night and day! I never thought that in my lifetime I would be witness to a moment where a professional kabaddi player would be valued at such high numbers. It’s a golden day for kabaddi, a new dawn for the sport.”

Others who crossed the double-digit mark: Surjeet Singh (Bengal Warriors, 12 lakh), Manjir Chillar (10.20 lakh), Ajay Thakur (12.20 lakh) & Gurpreet Singh (11.80 lakh), all Bengaluru Bulls; Jasmer Singh (Rs. 11.20 lakh), Kashiling Adake (has not played for India, 10 lakh) & Surjeet Narwal (12.20 lakh), all Delhi; Navneet Gautam (Jaipur Pink Panthers, 11.20 lakh), Wazir Singh (Puneri Paltan, 10.60 lakh), Deepak Nivas (‘B’ category, not played for India, Telugu Titans, 12.60 lakh); Anup Kumar (10.20 lakh) & Shabeer Bapu Sharafudheen (10.60 lakh), both U Mumba.

Highest-paid overseas player:

Tae Deok Eom (Patna, 7 lakh).

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 3:41:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/rakesh-kumar-gets-the-highest-bid/article6030474.ece

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