U.P. Yoddhas - owned by GMR Group - will enter the Pro Kabaddi Season 9 auction having retained four players including captain Nitesh Kumar.
The Yoddhas finished as semi-finalists in Pro Kabaddi Season 8, after going down 27-38 to Patna Pirates. Earlier in the competition, they finished third on the points table and were the second team to qualify for the playoffs, courtesy of a 35-28 win against U Mumba.
Star raider Pardeep Narwal, the player with the most raid points (1,348) in PKL history, was released after a solitary campaign with the U.P. Yoddhas.
The ‘Dubki King’, who became the most expensive player ever after the Yoddhas signed him for INR 1.65 crore, had an indifferent season on the mat as he registered 188 total points - his lowest return since his 133-point haul for former side Patna Pirates in season 4.
The four players retained by U.P. Yoddhas ahead of the upcoming season are Nitesh Kumar (captain), Surender Gill (raider), Sumit Sangwan (defender) and Ashu Singh (defender).
Surender Gill, for starters, was the most successful raider for U.P Yoddhas in Pro Kabaddi Season 8 with 189 raid points from 23 matches. His haul was made up of points from eight Super 10s and seven Super Raids.
Sumit Sangwan was the best defender for the Yoddhas last term, with 62 tackle points from 24 matches to finish fifth on the top-10 list for most tackle points in PKL 8.
Supporting Sumit was right cover defender Ashu Singh. The 23-year-old amassed 49 tackle points besides completing 42 successful tackles out of 110 tackles.
Captain Nitesh Kumar kept hold of his place in the U.P. Yoddhas team. A defender, Nitesh registered 57 tackle points and an average of 2.38 successful tackles per match in PKL 8.
The U.P. Yoddhas are aiming to rebuild a valuable squad to challenge for a maiden Pro Kabaddi title, and will be exciting to see the latest additions to the team from the PKL 9 auction that will be held on August 5 and 6.