These players have made the league popular as it is today.
Pro Kabaddi League has taken kabaddi to a new dimension and has given the sport a new identity. It is the second most viewed league (sports) after IPL which in itself is a great success. Many youngsters play the indigenous sport but fail to get recognition and this platform is the one bridging the gap between players and the audience. Many players have contributed since season 1 and in this article let us discuss the top players to feature in the PKL All-time starting VII.
The Iranian started his PKL career in season 2 representing U Mumba. Fazel Atrachali was a popular figure in Iran and in the kabaddi circuit having represented his national side in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games and also captained the side in 2014. He was part of the title-winning Patna Pirates team in season 3 and played an important role. Season 6 and Season 7 (in terms of points scored) turned out to be successful scoring 83 and 84 points respectively. The left-back defender leapfrogged Manjeet Chhillar to become the most successful defender in PKL. “Sultan” was part of the 2018 gold medal-winning Asian Games team defeating mighty India in the finals.
Manjeet Chillar started his PKL career with Bengaluru Bulls under the guidance of coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat. He breached the 50 points (tackle) mark in season 1 and was adjudged defender of the tournament scoring the highest tackle points. The allrounder in total scored 51 tackle points and 71 raid points in the inaugural edition. He continued from where he left off in season 1 and was adjudged the Most Valuable player in season 2 and helped Bengaluru Bulls reach the finals. He was a valuable allrounder in the initial few seasons but later concentrated only on his defensive skills and last played for Dabang Delhi KC. Overall the player has scored 391 tackle points the second most in the league.
Sandeep Narwal rose to the limelight scoring 119 points in the inaugural edition of the PKL. He started his career representing Patna Pirates for the first three seasons and led the side in season 2 reaching the semifinals. Sandeep Narwal was known for his solo back-hold attack and could easily get hold of raiders with his physique. The star allrounder was brought for a hefty sum of 89 lakhs in season 7 by U Mumba but couldn’t perform to his best. He went unsold in the season 9 auctions but was eventually brought in as a substitute by UP Yoddhas.
The right-cover defender has plied his trade for several franchises in the PKL starting with Bengaluru Bulls. He then shifted base to U Mumba winning the maiden PKL title in season 2 scoring 42 tackle points and formed a deadly combination with Surendar Nada. He found good success in season 3 as well getting past the 50 tackle points mark for U Mumba. Overall the defender has represented Bengaluru Bulls, U Mumba, Haryana Steelers, Jaipur Pink Panthers, and Tamil Thalaiavas in his PKL career. He last played for Tamil Thalaivas in season 7 and scored 37 tackle points.
Maninder Singh was the star raider for Jaipur Pink Panthers lifting the PKL title in the inaugural edition. He scored 130 raid points and was the third successful raider statistically. The tall lanky raider suffered from an injury and couldn’t participate in the next three seasons. The comeback representing Bengal Warriors in season 5 was a successful one scoring 190 raid points. The raider guided Bengal Warriors to their maiden PKL title in season 7 and was the fastest to score 400 and 500 raid points in league history.
Pardeep Narwal started his journey in season 2 with Bengaluru Bulls and since then has gone on to represent three franchises (Bengaluru Bulls, Patna Pirates, and UP Yoddhas). “Dubki” king shifted to Patna Pirates in season 3 which turned out to be successful scoring 121 points in 16 matches and was instrumental in Patna winning their maiden PKL title under the guidance of coach Sanjeev Baliyan. Also, he became the first raider to score 1500 raid points and achieved the landmark in season 9 representing UP Yoddhas.
Naveen “Express” started his PKL career in season 6 under the guidance of coach Krishan Kumar Hooda. The raider stamped his mark in the maiden season guiding Dabang Delhi KC to playoffs and scoring 177 points. Also, he is nicknamed ‘Naveen Express’ for his speedy raids and consistency. Season 8 was the most successful season winning the title for the first time and the raider single-handedly took care of the raiding department getting valuable support from Vijay Malik. He became the fastest to reach the 600 raid points mark and was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in season 8.
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