Kabaddi players from Punjab have found their IPL moment. Some 300 players will be playing for clubs in Canada beginning next week, while 106 of them got down to business in England last week. What is good for the contact sport and its practitioners is the money on offer. A top-flight player — there are around 40 of them — can earn around Rs20-25 lakh by playing for three to four months. The next 60 players get around Rs10-15 lakh.
“Even an average player earns enough for a year after a season in Canada,” said Sukhdarshan Singh Chahal, a statistician. “There is good money in England too, but there are only 18 clubs. Canada has 40.”
The season begins end-May and goes on till August.
The Canadian circuit took off Sunday in Vancouver. The Toronto leg opens May 29 and action begins in Alberta mid-June.
“This is my fifth season in Canada. Today, my family is doing well because of kabaddi,” said Manjit Sehoura, who plays for Sher-e-Punjab Club.
Based in Ludhiana, Singh, who had five seasons in England, will play for Toronto and Alberta.
“The budget for kabaddi in Canada is about Rs25 crore, but the combined budget in Canada, England, Europe, America and India is around R60 crore,” said Karan Singh Ghuman of the International Punjab Sports and Cultural Club, Toronto.