PKL Auction 2018 is all set to dominate the surface of Indian Kabaddi for entire next week as the PKL auctions will take place on May 30 and May 31 in Mumbai. All the PKL 2018 teams will need to think long and hard about the players they want to sign for the upcoming season. One important rule change at this year’s Pro Kabaddi League auction is the introduction of PKL Final Bid Match card which allows the teams to retain players from 2017 Squad during the PKL auction 2018. All the PKL 2018 teams were asked to submit the list of elite players retained by them ahead of the PKL auction 2018 and then only they would know the extent of PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card used by them during PKL Season 6 auction. All the PKL sides were allowed to retain a maximum of 4 players before the auction and teams retaining all 4 players will get 1 PKL Final Bid Match card while all teams retaining less than 4 players will get 2 PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card options. PKL Auction 2018 Final Bid Match will allow the teams to plan their strategy for the PKL 2018 auction given all teams have a purse of INR 4 Cr to spend from and ensure they have a minimum of 18 players in their squad for the upcoming season.
Speaking of the PKL Final Bid Match card, all the 12 PKL sides must have already figured out the list of players they want to keep hold of during the PKL 2018 auction. There are teams like U Mumba, Jaipur Pink Panthers, and UP Yoddha who have not retained a single player ahead of the new season giving them 2 PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card options during the auction. Meanwhile, Patna Pirates and Puneri Paltan have used all 4 Elite Retentions and will go into the PKL 2018 auction with only one PKL Auction 2018 Final Bid Match card. Ahead of the PKL Auction 2018, we take a look at one player from each PKL 2018 team they must retain during the auction using their PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card.
Gujarat Fortunegiants – Fazel Atrachali
A major reason for Gujarat Fortunegiants reaching the PKL 2017 final was the sensational defending skills of Fazel Atrachali who in tandem with Abozar Mighani were unstoppable. Fazel scored 57 tackle points while Abozar Mighani managed 65 tackle points in PKL Season 5. Gujarat Fortunegiants have so far retained 3 players including their star raider Sachin which does suggest that the Fortunegiants would sure up their defense and sign Fazel using the PKL Final Bid Match card. Apart from Fazel, Gujarat are likely to use PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card option on Abozar as well.
2. Puneri Paltan – Deepak Niwas Hooda
Puneri Paltan have used all 4 Elite Retention option and have just 1 PKL Auction 2018 Final Bid Match option and they are likely to re-sign Deepak Niwas Hooda who was Puneri Paltan’s most successful raider in the PKL Season 5. Deepak managed 172 raid points from 24 matches which 7th highest last season. Puneri Paltan will need Deepak Niwas Hooda for his captaincy skill as well as his ability to defend from any corner.
3. Haryana Steelers – Surender Nada
According to reports, Haryana Steelers will be looking to improve their raiding capability but the team from North India will need to sure up their defense as well and who better than Surender Nada who scored the most tackle points in PKL Season 5. Surender Nada was last season’s best defender and is an important part of Indian national Kabaddi team as well. Nada will be on every team’s shopping list at the PKL 2018 auctions and it is very unlikely that Haryana Steelers will allow that to happen as they are likely to use the PKL Final Bid Match card and keep hold of Surender Nada ahead of the PKL Season 6.
4. U Mumba – Anup Kumar
Kabaddi’s coolest captain of all time finds himself without a team after U Muma decided not to retain any player for the upcoming season. U Mumba will 2 PKL Auction 2018 Final Bid Match card options and it is pointless in debating whether Anup Kumar should be one of them or not. Anup’s numbers (112 raid points, 23 tackle points) may have fallen last season but he still is one of the best tacticians in the game and if U Muma are looking to revamp their squad, they will need Anup Kumar’s guidance to do so.
5. Jaipur Pink Panthers – Manjeet Chhillar
Another team who will rely on their PKL Final Bid Match card will be Jaipur Punk Panthers who have also decided to not retain any player for the upcoming season. Manjeet Chhillar’s PKL season 5 was marred by injuries but the supremely talented all-rounder has declared his fitness ahead of the new season in a rallying cry to his current team to use their PKL 2018 Final Bid Match card option and keep him at the franchise. Manjeet is a tenacious raider and nobody likes to go against him when he is defending his lines, making him an ideal player for any PKL side.
6. Dabang Delhi – Abolfazl Maghsodlou
Dabang Delhi will need to think long and hard about the players they would want to retain using their PKL Final Bid Match card. So far Delhi have retained Meraj Sheykh which may not be enough as the Iranian needs enough support from his teammates to win the crucial raid points for his team. Apart from Meraj, Abolfazl was the only player who looked capable of scoring raid points for Dabang Delhi last season. The team finished bottom of Zone A points table and it would not surprise me a bit if they go the entire PKL 2018 auction without using their PKL Auction 2018 Final Bid Match and bring all the new players for the new season.
7. Bengal Warriors – Jang Kun Lee
Bengal Warriors look a strong unit ahead of the PKL 2018 season as they have already retained Surjeet Singh and Maninder Singh for the upcoming season giving them a strong base to work on. Another player who can add value to his Bengal Warriors side is their international star, Jang Kun Lee. The South Korean could only manage 89 raid points last season but his quality is known to everyone and which is why we think Bengal Warriors will use one of the 2 PKL Final Bid Match options on Jang Kun Lee.
8. Patna Pirates – Monu Goyat
This could get really interesting after Patna Pirates, the reigning PKL Champions used all 4 of their elite retention options and did not retain Monu Goyat who scored 191 raid points for them last season. With Pardeep Narwal already in the side, Patna Pirates did not feel the need of signing up another raider rather they may look to bring in a quality defender to ensure Pardeep is on the mat and keeps scoring points. Having said that, Patna Pirates know that outscoring opponents is the easiest way to in the match and that is why we think Patna Pirates use their only Final Bid Match on Monu Goyat but this plan could backfire if the other teams decide to step up their bidding as well.
9. UP Yoddha – Nitin Tomar
Such were the expectations from Nitin Tomar that 167 raid points in Season 5 looked like an underachievement for the star raider. UP Yoddha’s decision to go with a completely new team could see them sign some exceptional players but one has to wonder are UP Yoddha willing to let go of Nitin Tomar after just 1 season despite spending INR 93 Lacs on his last season.
10. Bengaluru Bulls – Ravinder Pahal
Known as The Hawk, Ravinder Pahal was Bengaluru’s best defender last season and it would not surprise anyone if the Bulls decide to sign him up once again for PKl Season 6 using their PKL Final Bid Match option and build a strong side after they have already retained their captain and star raider Rohit Kumar.
11. Telugu Titans – Vishal Bhardwaj
It is nothing but a definite PKL auction strategy from the Telugu Titans to not retain Vishal Bhardwaj before the auction and sign him during the PKL 2018 auction using their PKL final bid match option. Vishal Bhardwaj was the only defender who kept Pardeep Narwal quiet last season and he will be a valuable player for Telugu Titans but by any chance, if they decide not to sign him up, expect a bidding war for Vishal Bhardwaj who scored 71 tackle points last season.
12. Tamil Thalaivas – K. Prapanjan
Like Telugu Titans, Tamil Thalaivas decided not to retain their 3rd best player from last season and have placed all their card on the table for the PKL 2018 auction. Prapanjan scored 123 raid points for his team last season and they will need him for sure to partner Ajay Thakur for the next season. K. Prapanjan is all but likely to be the player Tamil Thalaivas sign using their final bid match option.