It was a day of records in the Pro Kabaddi League 2018 Auction as a total of 6 players broke the 1 crore mark in the bidding war – 5 Indians and 1 foreign – while Monu Goyat became the most expensive of all as the raider went to Haryana Steelers for a whopping fee of Rs 1.51 crores. In doing so, Goyat also became the most top-earning non-cricketer in a franchise-based sports league in the country, surpassing Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri.
The Day 1 of PKL auction saw Deepak Hooda become the first Indian crorepati, signing for Jaipur Pink Panthers for 1.15 crores, while Nitin Tomar – previous season’s top earner with 93 lakh – was sold for 1.15 crores this time to Puneri Paltans. UP Yoddhas also broke the bank as they shelled 1.11 crores to retain Rishank Devadiga.
While Delhi thought they had bought Rahul Chaudhary in a mega 1.29 crores deal, Telugu Titans used their Final Bid Match (FBM) option to retain the player. Eventually, it was Monu who topped the charts as the Haryana franchise bought him for a record fee of 1.51 crores.
So far, Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri was the top-earning non-cricket athlete playing for a franchise-based sports league in the country. His deal with Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC sees him earn Rs. 1.50 crore which is 1 lakh less than what Monu will be earning now. Interestingly, both the franchises – Bengaluru FC and Haryana Steelers – have the same owners in the form of JSW Sports.
The record deal is a result of the sensational performance that Monu produced last season. The efforts he had put in for U Mumba in the 2017 season, got as many as four teams to battle for his services. While U Mumba started off with the opening bid, the Steelers eventually got the signatures of the sought-after raider.
It should also be noted that prominent shuttlers like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth also do not come anywhere near Monu Goyat in terms of money earned from the franchise-based leagues.