These players went on to become some of the biggest names in the sport.
The Pro Kabaddi League is the reason behind the rise in popularity of the sport of kabaddi in India.
The league began back in 2014 and that was a truly special year for kabaddi as a whole. Inspired by the Indian Premier League, the PKL saw big stars join from across the globe. The new league and the format of the tournament made it a special experience for kabaddi enthusiasts in India.
There were many players who made their mark in the first season of the PKL. The focus here is on the top five best performing raiders from the Pro Kabaddi League Season 1:
5. Kashiling Adake
Kashiling Adake managed to score 122 points, five super 10s and three super raids in 14 matches during Pro Kabaddi League Season 1 for Dabang Delhi. Although the outfit finished in sixth place, Adake was in a league of his own.
He went on to play for the franchise consecutively in four seasons, continuing to perform exceptionally. He was part of the title-winning Bengaluru Bulls squad in the sixth season. Adake remains one of the finest players in the history of the PKL and his defence has also seen a huge improvement.
4. Ajay Thakur
Ajay Thakur is next on the list and also captained the Indian kabaddi team on the international stage. While playing for Bengaluru Bulls in Pro Kabaddi League Season 1, he scored 127 points in 15 games. Thanks to such a display, the Bulls finished in third place during the inaugural season. Ajay Thakur led from the front as the raider and collected important points for his team.
In the third-place match, while playing against Patna Pirates, Thakur scored nine points and snatched the victory. He made 122 successful raids and executed five super 10s throughout the tournament.
3. Maninder Singh
Maninder Singh has been a brilliant performer since the inception of the PKL. He guided Bengal Warriors to the league title under his captaincy in the seventh season. The player was part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers franchise in Pro Kabaddi League Season 1. Singh was a crucial figure for the outfit back then and performed extremely well in the final as well.
He scored 10 points against U Mumba in the final match and helped the team become champions. His overall tally was 137 points in 16 matches.
2. Rahul Chaudhari
“The Showman” Rahul Chaudhari was the face of the competition and is one of the best players to play in the PKL. He has a huge fan-following and is one of the most technically sound players in the league. His passion on the mat makes his fans support him with immense energy. Despite a fall in his recent performances, the popularity of the kabaddi star has not fallen.
Rahul has played mostly for Telugu Titans in the PKL. He was part of the team from Pro Kabaddi League Season 1 and delivered impressive displays in the first campaign. He was scored 161 points in 14 outings. During this run, he made 122 successful raids and executed eight super 10s. Although, the same could not be said for his team, which was overall underwhelming. The outfit finished in fifth place that year.
1. Anup Kumar
Anup Kumar was popularly known as “Captain Cool” back in his playing days. He scored the most number of raid points in the first season of the PKL. Kumar was part of U Mumba and performed incredibly well for them. He played an instrumental part in taking the team all the way into the final.
Anup Kumar scored 169 points across 16 matches in Pro Kabaddi League Season 1. He also made 123 raids, the highest that season. In addition to these mind-boggling numbers, he also made eight super raids and executed 10 super 10s overall.