From Surender Nada & Mohit Chhillar to Ravinder Pahal, Fazel Atrachali, or Manjeet Chhilar, the Pro Kabaddi League has enthralled us since 2014 with some of the most incredible tackles in Sport.
While traditionally it’s been experienced defenders ruling the roost and young raiders, in Season 8, we’ve seen young men who have sprung straight into the top defender’s list in their debut season and left us absolutely in awe of the raw talent on display. With a little data support from our friends at www.KabaddiAdda.com, we bring you the Top 5 Debutant Defenders at Pro Kabaddi this season.
5. ABINESH NADARAJAN (Puneri Paltan): 10 Matches – 24 tackle points
The Puneri Paltan might be only the 9th best defensive outfit in the league at the halfway mark but young debutant Abinesh Nadarajan has been a bright spark in the central region of the unit in the Right Cover. With 24 tackle points over the first 10 games, his combination with Vishal Bhardwaj has been integral in Pune winning 4 games so far and could be one of the young men to keep your eyes onn going forward into the 2nd half of the season.
4. RINKU HARI (U Mumba): 11 Matches – 48 tackle – 30 tackle points
Maharashtra is certainly one of the hotbeds of Kabaddi in the country and Season 2 Champions, U Mumba, have been one of the flag bearers through the Pro Kabaddi League. From the combination of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar to the emergence of Fazel Atrachali, the team has had a habit of finding top defenders and Season 8 is no different with young debutant Rinku Hari impressing us on the Right Corner in the combination with Captain Fazel. Rinku has multiple High 5s to his name and has added solidity to the setup in a critical position on court, picking up 27 points in the first 11 matches, even outscoring Fazel and every other U Mumba defender in the process.
3. MOHAMMADREZA SHADLOUI (Patna Pirates): 11 Matches – 52 tackle – 33 points
View this post on Instagram
Is this young man the next Fazel Atrachali??? Mohammadreza Chiyaneh Shadloui has quite literally taken his first opportunity in Pro Kabaddi with both hands on the left corner of the Patna Pirates. Patna as a unit are averaging more than 12 tackle points per game and have become the best defensive team in the league with 5 different men picking up a High 5 over the first half of the season. The Corner-Cover combination of Shadloui and Neeraj has clattered into the best raiders in the business and the young man from Iran seems like he has a long, bright future ahead in the sport.
2. SAHUL KUMAR (Jaipur Pink Panthers): 10 Matches – 31 tackle points
Jaipur Pink Panthers have had a rough few seasons since their inaugural title-winning campaign back in 2014 but some of that old form seems to have re-surfaced in Season 8 with their raiding duo of Deepak Niwas Hooda and Arjun Deshwal firing and this man, Sahul Kumar in rampaging form on the right corner. With 12 points over the last week in just 2 games, the Jaipur Pink Panthers are charging towards the top and peaking at the right time, riding on the form of this man.
1. JAIDEEP (Haryana Steelers): 11 Matches – 64 tackles – 38 tackle points
The Haryana Steelers have had an up and down season so far but the defensive star of the team has been newcomer Jaideep, who in his debut season, has taken the league by storm and is among the top 3 tackle point scorers. One of 23 players to emerge from the K7 Stage Up Tournament, Jaideep has already picked up 3 High 5s in his first 11 matches and has gotten better with every match. The cover defender has been sublime and has the experience of Surender Nada on the corner to lean on under the tutelage of Coach, Rakesh Kumar too.
[Featured Image Credit: Sahul Kumar]