PVL: When Ashwal and Vinit took a pay cut of 3 lakh each to play for Kolkata Thunderbolts
Ashwal Rai and Vinit Kumar agreed to be retained for INR. 15 lakh each instead of 18 lakh, to help the Kolkata Thunderbolts build a better team for 2023 PVL.
The Prime Volleyball League (PVL) defending champions Kolkata Thunderbolts were knocked out of the 2023 season after a 1-3 loss against the Bengaluru Torpedoes in the semifinal on Saturday.
Their semifinal loss notwithstanding, the Thunderbolts were quite visibly one of the more dominant sides in the second edition of PVL. They entered the final four stages with a total of six wins and just a solitary loss in the league stage.
Two players – Vinit Kumar and captain Ashwal Rai, were the architects of Kolkata Thunderbolts’ run into the semifinal with a total of 90 and 80 points respectively.
But did you know that both Vinit and Ashwal took a pay cut of INR. 3 lakh each at the start of the season to build a solid team at the Kolkata Thunderbolts?
Yes, you read it right.
Ahead of the start of the second edition of PVL, all the teams had to retain a total of 3 players each. There was also an additional team entering the tournament in the Mumbai Meteors, who were given the right to sign up any three from the list of players released by the existing teams.
This is where things got a bit tricky for the defending champions Kolkata Thunderbolts. Both Ashwal Rai and Vinit Kumar were the backbones on which their team was built.
It was almost impossible for them to retain both. In fact, there were a lot of speculations on how the Thunderbolts will have to release either one of Rai or Kumar due to the budget restrictions and they could end up with the newly added Mumbai-based franchise.
But, none of it ever happened.
The Kolkata Thunderbolts offered both Ashwal and Vinit a fair deal. The team management was willing to break the bank to retain both of them and offered them INR. 18 lakh each.
But, this would have meant that they went into the auction with a very disproportionate purse. It would have been next to impossible to bring in some good players.
This is where the veteran Vinit Kumar stepped in.
When the universal was offered INR. 18 lakh to stay in the teams, he straight up enquired how much was their captain Ashwal getting. As the owners replied the same amount, Vinit sensed something was amiss.
He realised that it would be impossible for them to build a good team if both of them got INR. 18 lakh each.
Vinit straight up called up Ashwal on his mobile to discuss the matter and both of them instantly agreed to settle for INR. 15 lakh each – a pay cut of INR. 3 lakh, for the betterment of the team.
“When Vinit called up and explained the situation, I was pretty sure that we could not let this affect the dynamics of team building. He is like a brother to me and Patodia sir (principal owner of Thunderbolts) wanted to retain us both, so it was a no-brainer to agree with what Vinit proposed,” Ashwal told The Bridge.
“With our performance last season, it was pretty clear that if either one of us went into the auction we would fetch a lot of money. But somewhere both of us wanted to play together in the same team. So when Ashwal agreed, it was an easy decision for me as well,” Vinit added.
Vinit, though, just before signing the contract for INR. 15 lakh had a quick chat with his wife regarding the decision.
“It is important to have a discussion with your family when you take such a big decision. Once I called her up and told her I am having this discussion, she too was instantly onboard. All of us just want to win,” Vinit smiles.