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PKL: Looking back at top defenders from every Pro Kabaddi League season

Published at :February 22, 2024 at 1:45 PM
Modified at :February 22, 2024 at 1:45 PM
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Yash Pratap Singh


These players played a major role in making the league so successful.

The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has produced numerous stars, moments and magic ever since its inception. The league is currently unfolding its tenth edition and has very much lived up to the hype. 

With drama, entertainment and a lot in between, the PKL has been one of the most-watched sporting events in the country over the last ten years. In Kabaddi, the raiders often take away all the limelight with their acrobatic moves, but the defenders play an equally important role for their teams. 

On that note, let us take a look at the top defenders from every PKL season to date.

Season 1 – Manjeet Chhillar (Bengaluru Bulls)

In the first PKL season, former Indian international and the then Bengaluru Bulls skipper Manjeet Chhillar won the award for the best defender. Chhillar picked up 51 tackles and points in 16 games and became the highest-scoring defender in the first season. Moreover, he also had 71 raid points and led his side to the semi-finals of PKL 1.

Season 2 – Ravinder Pahal (Dabang Delhi KC)

In the second season, Ravinder Pahal was adjudged as the best defender of the season for his record 60 tackle points in just one season. The veteran right corner defender from Haryana is very well known as ‘the Hawk’ for his ferocious ankle hold. Pahal has played 124 PKL matches to date and has 339 tackle points to his name.

Season 3 – Manjeet Chhillar (Puneri Paltan)

Manjeet Chhillar yet again finished as the most successful defender and took home the award for the second time. In PKL 3, Manjeet Chillar broke his own record and accumulated 61 tackle points, including five super tackle points. Moreover, Manjeet ranks in the list of the tackle points in the history of the league for 391 points in 132 matches.

Season 4 – Fazel Atrachali (Patna Pirates)

In season 4, Fazel Atrachali became the most successful defender with his 52 tackle points in 16 matches. The Iranian became the first-ever overseas player to do so. Atrachali played a crucial role in leading Patna Pirates to their second PKL title and also won himself the best defender award in the process.

Season 5 – Surendra Nada (Haryana Steelers)

In 2017, Surendra Nada broke all records and became the defender to clinch the most number of tackle points in a single season. Nada pulled off 80 tackle points in 21 matches and won the best defender award in PKL 5. He was the captain of the Haryana Steelers and led his side to the playoffs in their debut season. 

Season 6 – Nitesh Kumar (UP Yoddhas)

The right-corner defender won the best defender award in PKL 6 for his tally of 100 points in 25 matches. Nitesh became the first-ever defender to touch the centurion mark and still holds the record for the most number of tackle points in a single season. Moreover, he ranks sixth in the list of the most number of tackle points in the history of the league for his 350 points in 129 games.

Season 7 – Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba)

Fazel Atrachali won the best defender award for the second time in PKL 7 and became only the second defender to do so. The left-corner defender recorded 82 tackle points in 24 matches and led his side to the semi-finals. The Iranian international is the most successful defender in the history of the league and has 485 tackle points in 167 matches.

Season 8 – Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (Patna Pirates)

Mohammadreza Sahadloui became only the second overseas player to win the Best Defender award in the history of the league. The Iranian international accumulated 89 tackles and points in 24 matches and helped Patna Pirates navigate their way to the final. Still 23, the all-rounder has made a mark for himself in World’s most prominent Kabaddi league. Moreover, he also became the most expensive player in the history of PKL during the last auction.

Season 9 – Ankush (Jaipur Pink Panthers)

Last season Ankush took home the Best Defender award for his heroics on the mat for the Jaipur Pink Panthers. The left-corner defender recorded 89 points in 24 matches, including three crucial points in the final and helped his side win their second PKL title. Ankush holds the record for the second joint most number of points in a single season.

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