Five things that Pro Kabaddi League should change
The tournament is still in its developmental years and so changes are the most important way to grow.
After nine successful seasons, the Pro Kabaddi League has enticed millions of viewers from India and beyond. The sport has evolved successfully through rule changes. The latest two rule changes in PKL were the form of the lobby rule amendment and increasing the number of substitutions. The coaches and the players have liked the changes. The lobby rule now states that a defender who follows the raider into the lobby without being touched by the raider will no longer be declared out. Last year, a loophole in this lobby rule was exploited twice.
Here are a few other rule changes or additions that the league should consider implementing.
5. Trading window
Currently only seen in the Indian Premier League, the trading window will be a game-changing introduction to the Pro Kabaddi League. In such a fast-paced game, unexpected injuries for key players are always commonplace. Take the example of Pawan Sehrawat, the Tamil Thalaivas captain, who injured his knee and will miss the entirety of the league. Thalaivas could have traded in a capable replacement from another team. The trading window also allows injured players to recover at their own pace, particularly when the Asian Games are just around.
The post-auction procedure for signing injury replacements certainly raised a few questions. Having a trading window will be easier for the teams to make loan sales of fringe players.
With a mid-season trading window. The quality of the matches and the league will improve as all teams will have balance in the squad. A few factors against having a trading window are that it is difficult for players to adjust from one dressing room atmosphere to another in the middle of the season. This could impact the form of the player and disrupt auction plans.
4. Reducing the number of points for a tie
According to the current points system of PKL, a tied match sees both teams get three points. Due to this, many teams seem to be content in playing for a tie and reduce the playing intensity towards the end. If the points for a tie are reduced to 2, more teams will play for the win and go hell for leather, which will lead to more thrilling finishes to games.
Currently, referrals are decided using different cameras and camera angles. The cameras in operation are world-class but having a ‘Hotspot’ technology similar to cricket could help in deciding touches. Beep sensors for successful bonus attempts can also erase the confusion that follows raids.
2. Home/away structure and Kits
The Pro Kabaddi League has been played in different formats, from a three-week leg to a week-long caravan. A proper home/away structure in which all the teams play each other once at home and once away, followed by a two-legged knockout format should suit the league best. Having alternative away kits for all teams should be considered as the jerseys often clash. Teams from the leagues of the sports like football have this idea and PKL once followed it as well. However, why this was discontinued after being followed in earlier editions is a mystery.
1. Pausing the clock during non-activity
Kabaddi matches are very unpredictable as it often turns around in seconds. Every tick of the clock is crucial for both teams. Viewers both at home and in the stadiums are often confused when the clock keeps running during a period of non-activity, such as when two referees are discussing a review or during the early seconds of a time-out. Stopping the clock when the play is not on should give teams that extra bit of time to mount spectacular comebacks. This should be a change the organizers must consider to further enhance the action.