The Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 opener in Dubai today (Friday) between India and Pakistan will be a showdown between a seasoned ₹9 crore professional combine from India and the Pakistan squad looking for opportunities and recognition.
No prize for guessing that India is not just a sentimental favourite but also the strong side on reputation, form and strength. The Pro Kabaddi League, by Star Sports and Mashal Sports, over five seasons and four years has established kabaddi as an aspirational sport with a career option worth crore-rupee annual salary contracts. Regular opportunities and a professional approach towards the game has further strengthened India’s position as the powerhouse of world kabaddi.
What Indian Premier League has been to cricket, Pro Kabaddi League is doing for establishing the kabaddi as a professional global sport. The success of the PKL has been crucial to giving the International Kabaddi Federation a belief to launch the Kabaddi Masters Series – the first step towards kabaddi’s entry into the Olympics.
The 14-member Indian squad, set to take on Pakistan today (Friday) at Dubai’s Al Wasl Sports Club, is a combination of professional players who have collective annual professional PKL contracts worth ₹ 9.21 crore. Raider Monu Goyat with a ₹1.51 PKL contract is the highest paid kabaddi player ever. Fellow raiders Rahul Chaudhari and Rishank Devadiga too are crorepati professionals for their respective ₹ 1.29 crore and ₹ 1.11 crore PKL contracts. Six of the other Indian players have contracts worth ₹ 50 lakh and above while Garish Maruti Ernak will earn ₹49.10 lakh on account of his PKL professional fee this year.
In the Pakistan combine, all-rounders Muhammad Rizwan and Akhlaq Hussain are the only two players to qualify as professionals for their ₹ 5 lakh contracts each with the Telugu Titans for the inaugural PKL season.
India: Girish Maruti Ernak, Surender Nada, Sandeep, Mohit Chhillar, Raju Lal Choudhary, Surjeet (Po), Deepak, Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari, Rishank Krishna Devadiga, Monu Goyat, Rohit Kumar, Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar
Pakistan: Nasir Ali, Waqar Ali, Mudassar Ali, Qaisir Abbas, Kashif Razzaq, Muhammad Nadeem, Sajjad Shaukat, Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Safian, Abid Hussain, Akhlaq Hussain, Wasim Sajjad, Muhammad Nisar, Muzammal Hussain.
Catch the live action on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD and Star group’s OTT platform Hotstar.