Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) announced on Friday the player retentions under three categories: 'Elite Retained Players', 'Retained Young Players' and 'New Young Players' ahead of the player auctions for the eighth season. The league is making a return after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, 59 players were retained across the three categories with 22 in the 'Elite players category', six in the 'Retained players category' and 31 in the 'New Young Players category'.
The 12 teams will begin to assemble their squads for the eighth season slated to take place in December. The non-retained players including all squad players from PKL Seasons 6 and 7 will go under the hammer at the mega auctions in Mumbai from August 29 to 31.
Defending champions Bengal Warriors have retained their captain Maninder Singh along with one of the main heroes of the final of the seventh season, Mohammed Esmaeil Nabibaksh.
Top points scorer of the seventh season, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat has been retained by Bengaluru Bulls for a second consecutive season. The MVP of the seventh season, Naveen Kumar, has been retained by Dabang Delhi K.C. under the 'Retained Young Players' category.
Experienced players like Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba), Parvesh Bhainswal & Sunil Kumar (Gujarat Giants), Vikash Khandola (Haryana Steelers), and Nitesh Kumar (U.P. Yoddha) have been retained by their respective teams.
Fan favourites like Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates), Deepak Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Rahul Chaudhari (Tamil Thalaivas), Siddharth Desai (Telugu Titans), and Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) will be part of the auction pool.
The 12 teams have in total released 161 players with Bengal Warriors (16 out of 20) and Telugu Titans (15 out of 18) dropping most of their members.
Patna Pirates are the most successful team in the league, winning thrice and are the only team to have defended their title twice. Apart from defending champions Bengal Warriors, Jaipur Pink Panthers, U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls have also won the tournament once.
The Category A domestic players auction will be shown live on August 30 on Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar, who are the official broadcaster and OTT partner of the Pro Kabaddi League.