In the seven seasons of the league so far, five State players have taken part for various teams.
Hyderabad: The schedule for the eighth season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is yet to be out but the players auctions, scheduled to be held from August 29 to 31, will set the ball rolling for the new season.
In the seven seasons of the league so far, five State players have taken part for various teams. Gangadhari Mallesh represented Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first three seasons and in the 6th season while Tole Prasad played for Telugu Titans in the second season.
N Shiva Rama Krishna then played for Pink Panthers in the sixth season while Mahender Reddy donned Telugu Titans colours in the same season. Palle Mallikarjun was part of the Titans team last season.
Though the State always sent players in double digits for auctions, only a handful of them made it to the league. This year, six players from the State will go under the hammer. The veterans like Mallesh, Mahender Reddy, Siva Rama Krishna along with youngsters like Malilkarjun, G Raju and M Lakky Ram.
While Mallikarjun represented Titans in the previous season, he was released from the squad ahead of auctions. He is placed in Category C (Rs 10 lakh) bracket. Both Raju and Ram are placed in New Young Players (NYP) category with Rs 6 lakh base price.
Mallikarjun, who is primed to bag another contract, said, “Yes, it was great to play for Titans last time. I am hopeful of being selected in the auctions.” Speaking about his preparations, the South Central Railway employee said, “I have been practicing even in pandemic. We recently won senior nationals in kabaddi with SCR. Though the pandemic disrupted our calendar, we are happy to see the league back,” said the senior clerk with SCR.
Meanwhile, Mallesh, who played for Pink Panthers in four seasons, said, “I was not selected last season. so I did commentary. I listed my name in the auctions, but I am not keen and I haven’t been practicing due to the pandemic. But Mallikarjun has a bright chance. He was part of the South Central Railways team and won senior nationals,” he opined.
He also felt the PKL has increased in popularity and the three editions of the Telangana Premier Kabaddi League (TPKL) also helped find new talent in the State. However, he feels it will take some time to see more State players in PKL. “The junior players are very good and they got good platform in TPKL to showcase their talent. But they need to up the standards. It will take two to three years for these junior players to achieve seniors’ standard.”
Mahender Reddy also echoed similar feelings. “The TPKL provided much-needed match practice. Any amount of practice will not help if you don’t play matches. So the TPKL has given a few good players. They will improve with time,” he added.
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