The names of these stars have been synonymous with the Indian top flight for many years.
Since its inception in 2014, the Indian Super League has showcased many incredible players. Some of these players were upcoming talents who have been utilized heavily by the clubs and as a result, they have gone on to make the most appearances in the ISL.
Some of the domestic players have been regular starters across the seven editions, even after representing different teams. These players have grown thanks to playing alongside foreign players and regularly featuring for the outfits. While foreign players are brought in and sold, domestic players continue to play a central role and rack up appearances.
Let’s take a look at the five players who has made the most appearances in the ISL:
5. Sandesh Jhingan – 98 appearances
ATK Mohun Bagan defender Sandesh Jhingan has been one of India’s most consistent performers since the inception of the league. Among the players to have made the most appearances in the ISL, Jhingan currently stands in fifth position with 98 games.
The centre-back burst onto the scene while playing for Kerala Blasters in 2014. He later moved on loan to Bengaluru FC to play in the I-League and AFC Cup for a brief period of time. He signed for ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Jhingan has suffered a few setbacks with injuries, otherwise he would have played in more matches. At 27-years-old, he is one of the most experienced Indian players and will continue to rack up more appearances in the future.
4. Harmanjot Khabra – 102 appearances
The Bengaluru FC star is one of the most versatile players in the ISL, who features in the fourth spot among players with most appearances in the league with 102 matches. Khabra has represented two clubs in the Indian top flight, Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC, winning the title with both.
The 33-year-old is a midfielder by trade but can also play in a defensive position. Most of his gameplay revolves around preventing the opposition from scoring. Khabra has never scored in the ISL, but has registered 11 assists in the process.
3. Lenny Rodrigues – 106 appearances
One of India’s most experienced defensive midfielders, Lenny occupies the third spot in the list of players with most appearances in the ISL. The 34-year-old has played 106 games in the Indian top flight for erstwhile FC Pune City, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and most recently ATK Mohun Bagan.
Rodrigues has racked up only four goals and two assists in 106 appearances. The lack of attacking returns is due to the fact that his role in the team is mostly to provide cover to defenders and win midfield battles.
2. Narayan Das – 107 appearances
The second spot in this list is occupied by East Bengal’s Narayan Das. One of the players with the most numbers of appearances in the ISL, Das has played 107 games in the Indian top flight – one more than Lenny Rodrigues. The full-back has played for teams like FC Goa, FC Pune City (erstwhile) and Odisha FC (previously Delhi Dynamos) before joining SC East Bengal in 2020/21.
The left-back has been one of the domestic players who has utilized the platform well. He has been a decent performer, but is yet to reach the heights expected of him. He has never scored a goal in the ISL, however, he has registered seven assists over the years.
1. Mandar Rao Dessai – 114 appearances
Mumbai City FC’s Mandar Rao Dessai is the leading player with the most number of appearances in the history of the ISL. He also became the first player to record more than 100 appearances in the league. The defender has featured for FC Goa and Mumbai City FC so far, scoring six goals and registering 12 assists in the process.
Dessai was one of the integral members of the Mumbai City squad which won their maiden league title in the 2020-21 season. The 29-year-old has established himself as one of the best left-backs in the country and is expected to add more appearances to his tally in seasons to come.