The Pro Kabaddi League announced on Monday that they retained a total of 29 players in the Elite Retained Players category as teams begin drafting their squads for season VII. The non-retained players will go under the hammer at the auctions to be held on the 8th and 9th of April 2019.
This time, the pool of talent retained by the teams is a mixture of young and experienced players. Tamil Thalaivas have retained Padma Shri Ajay Thakur for the second time in a row, along with Manjeet Chhillar.
Experienced players like Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls), Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba), Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates), Deepak Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Joginder Narwal (Dabang Delhi K.C) and Maninder Singh (Bengal Warriors) have been retained by their respective teams to bring forth their skills and game play in crucial times.
But players like Pawan Sehrawat (Bengaluru Bulls), Vikash Khandola (Haryana Steelers), Sachin (Gujarat Fortunegiants), Sandeep Dhull (Jaipur Pink Panthers) are all young players on the block who have showed their mettle and have been retained by their teams.
The retained Elite players will continue their association with their respective franchises for PKL, which starts on July 19, 2019. The number of Elite Retained Players for the upcoming season has increased from the previous season's number of 21. The Elite Player Retention cap has been increased from a maximum of 4 to a maximum of 6. Franchises can retain up to 6 Elite Players from either category A, B or C, with a maximum of two each from Category A and B.
Following the objective of building continuity, the League introduced a new category where a franchise can retain a New Young Players once his two-year contract is completed under the "Retained Young Players" category. These Retained Young players are over and above the existing cap of 6 New Young players that a franchise can have.
This works in favour of young kabaddi players who have proved their mettle and can continue playing with their respective teams and allows the franchises to build continuity of young talent. The Retained Young Players list would be revealed soon.
PKL League Commissioner Anupam Goswami said, "The League is cognizant of the significance of squad continuity and long-term association of players with their respective teams towards creating strong hooks and bonds for fans as well as sponsors. With this realisation, Pro Kabaddi League has consistently strengthened its Player Retention Policy to facilitate and augment squad continuity, to benefit players as well as their teams."