North Western Railway clerk Mohit Chillar gets picked by Bengaluru Bulls for Rs. 53 lakh, while Mumbai Police constable Hodage bought for Rs. 20 lakh by Patna Pirates in Pro Kabaddi auction while
Bajirao Hodage, a constable with Mumbai Police, couldn't believe his luck. Despite not playing the Nationals, he was bought for a cool Rs 20 lakh by Pro Kabaddi League defending champions team Patna Pirates for the fourth season of the league at the players auction held yesterday.
Jaipur Pink Panthers owner Abhishek Bachchan makes a point during the Pro Kabaddi League Season Four players auction at a city hotel yesterday. PIC/Atul Kamble
Hodage, who stays with his mother, wife and four-year-old son Veer at BDD Chawl in Lower Parel, said that the league has changed his life for good. "In the first season, I was given a Rs 1.5 lakh contract by Bengal Warriors. In the second, there was a substantial increase of Rs 1 lakh. A few months ago, I got a Rs 5 lakh deal for my consistent performances. I hoped to get a higher bid this time… maybe around Rs 10 lakh, but Rs 20 lakh was not something I expected. I plan to buy a piece of land here in Kolhapur with this money," the 34-year-old defender told mid-day from Kolhapur.
Talking about the hardship his family faced, Hodage said, "There was a time in 2003 when my family didn't have money to have food for the whole day. My father Ganpat used to work in Sriram Mills, but it shut and he was jobless for many years. He died due to a paralytic attack. My elder brother Ajit was a national level kabaddi player, but gave up the sport since there was not much remuneration then. It was my father's dream to watch my brother on television. Nobody expected me to do well, but when people saw me on television and appreciated me, it was inspiring," said Hodage, who thanked ?Bengal Warriors captain Nilesh Shinde for giving him the opportunity to be a part of the team.
The highlight of the auction though was 22-year-old defender Mohit Chillar, a clerk in North Western Railway, who was picked by Bengaluru Bulls for Rs 53 lakh - the highest bid of the day. Chillar, like many 'A' grade players, had a base price of Rs 12 lakh and ended at a record Pro Kabaddi League value.
Mohit who was a part of U Mumba in the third season, said: "I am from a middle-class family and I want to stay grounded. I will continue to work hard and give my best in whichever team I play for," said Nizampur-based Chillar.
The League, the second of the year, will kick off on June 25 in Pune. Welcoming the decision to conduct the league twice in a year, Jaipur Pink Panthers owner and Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan said, "Having two seasons of the league in a year is quite encouraging for the sport and players. Initially, there was apprehension if the league would work. But today, there has been a huge demand. Also, within two years, the athletes' values have shot up multifold, which is very good. It has instilled the belief that they can take up kabaddi as a career."
Others who were bid and bought for a much higher value than their base price were: Jeeva Kumar (Rs 40 lakh, U Mumba), Jasmer Singh Gulia (Rs 35.5 lakh, Telugu Titans; ex-Puneri Paltan), Kuldeep Singh (Rs 30.4 lakh, Patna Pirates; ex-Jaipur Pink Panthers), Surender Nada (Rs 30 lakh, Bengaluru Bulls; ex-U Mumba), Dharmaraj Cheralathan (Rs 29 lakh, Patna Pirates; ex-Telugu Titans), Rakesh Kumar (Rs 26 lakh, U Mumba), Bajirao Hodage (Rs 20 lakh) and Ajay Thakur (Rs 19 lakh, Puneri Paltan).
Top five players in the overseas category:
Fazel Atrachali from Iran (Rs 38 lakh, Patna Pirates), Jang Kun Lee, South Korea (Rs 22 lakh, Bengal Warriors), Hadi Oshtorak (Rs 8 lakh, Patna Pirates) and Iranian all-rounder Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi KC, Rs 19 lakh).