Mumbai : Defender Mohit Chillar, a clerk in North Western Railway, saw his earnings jump nine-fold over that in 2014 when Bengaluru Bulls made a successful bid to grab him for a substantial amount of Rs 53 lakh for the upcoming season 4 of the Pro Kabaddi League at the players’ auction on Friday.
The successful bid for Chillar by Bengaluru was the highest of the day at the auctions held here. Going into the auction each of the eight teams had been allowed to retain two players each who were with them for season 3.
Chillar, who is set to turn 23 on July 13, had been bid for Rs 5.75 lakh in the first players’ action held in 2014 prior to season 1 of PKL, a property jointly owned by broadcasters Star Sports and Mashal Sports.
“I feel very happy. I did not expect to get this much as I thought I would go for anything between 35 and 40 lakh,” Chillar, who hails from Nizampur village, 30 km from the Capital, told reporters via a conference call here.
“I take special leave without pay from my employers when I take part in the PKL,” said Chillar. He, however, added that he will not be quitting his job after the windfall.
Sandeep Narwal, of season 3 champions Patna Pirates, was successfully bid for by Telugu Titans for Rs 45.5 lakh while U Mumba held on to Jeeva Kumar for Rs 40 lakh, in the bidding for Group A players, whose base price was kept at Rs 12 lakh.
Season 4 of PKL, to be held less than four months after the completion of season 3 in early March, is to be held from June 25 to July 31 with the first leg matches scheduled at Pune and the two semi finals and final at Hyderabad.
Each franchise had a total purse of Rs two crore to be spent at the auction after deducting the amount they had spent on retaining the allowed limit of two players.
“We will increase the prize money which was 2.6 crore, including the individual prizes, in season 3. This is the third PKL season in a period of 12 months. At this auction the disparity between the amounts bid for raiders and defenders has come down and it’s more equal now,” said League Commissioner Anupam Goswami.
“The league is being broadcast to 96 countries. We have got very interesting feedback from the UK, Denmark and Poland. Recently Indian Kabaddi Federation’s president Janardhan Singh Gehlot was in Pakistan and he said in the auction that everyone was talking about Pro Kabaddi,” said Goswami.
Only one player from Pakistan, Muhammad Rizwan, was picked at the auction – by Telugu Titans – from among eight players who were available, Mashal Sports’ Charu Sharma said.
“Though the Indian government has been very supportive of Pak players playing in PKL, there’s still just a little bit of apprehension locally among the franchises,” he said.
Bollywood actor and Jaipur Pink Panthers owner Abhishek Bachchan said that PKL “has made a huge difference to players’ lives. They can now take it a as a professional career.”
“Kabaddi is a profitable venture for me,” he added.