Mumbai, March 25: As the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) readies for yet another action-packed season, a total of 29 players were retained in the Elite Retained Players category for the upcoming season.
The retained Elite players will continue their association with their respective franchises for Pro Kabaddi Season 7 starting July 19. The number of Elite Retained Players this time has increased from the previous season's 21.
The non-retained players will go under the hammer at the auction to be held on April 8-9.
The Player Retention Policy for VIVO PKL Season VII has been strengthened in line with the objective of building squad continuity and stability. 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 Player once his 2-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 will be revealed soon.
Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, VIVO Pro Kabaddi 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, VIVO Pro Kabaddi League has consistently strengthened its Player Retention Policy to facilitate and augment squad continuity, to benefit players as well as their teams."
This time, the pool of talent retained by the teams is a mixture of young and experienced players. Team 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 shown their mettle and have been retained by their teams.