In the game of Kabaddi, it is the raiders who fleet in and out of the limelight with a kind of agility that defies their physical demeanour. It is the raiders who rally the crowds behind their teams. Raiders are the ones who pump in the adrenaline into the match and the spectators.
It is generally one athlete against the gifted opponents on the other side of the line. The odds are stacked against the raider who doubles up like a concert instructor who controls the decibel levels of the crowd depending on the success of his raids.
Pro-Kabaddi has seen its raiders become stars and these stars guide the team to become champions. Here are the 7 raiders to look out for in the 5th season of Pro-Kabaddi League.
Rishank Devadiga (UP Yoddhas) : One of the younger players in PKL, Rishank Devadiga spent the previous four seasons as a part of the successful U-Mumba team. This season will bring its own chalenges Devadiga's as he is now part of new franchise of PKL, UP Yoddhas. The 25-year-old has been consistent in the past seasons, consistently featuring in the top raiders of each season. A naturally attacking raider, Devadiga is an asset in do or die raids. Now that he is no longer under the guidance of his former U-Mumba captain Anup Kumar, he will have to find a new mentor. However, playing with Nitin Tomar, who is a left raider, Devadiga who often attacks the other side, can thrive due to their left-right combination.
Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans) : The 'poster boy' of Indian Kabaddi has been the mainstay of Pro Kabaddi since its inception in 2014. Captain of the Telugu Titans team, Chaudhari has also led his Uttar Pradesh team to a gold medal in the 2015 National Kabaddi Championships. The 24-year-old is the player who has the most number of raid points in PKL history and the only player in the league to have more than 500 raid points. Having never made the final, Rahul Chaudhuri would like to take his team all the way and help lift its maiden title.
Ajay Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) : It takes one good season for a performer to be recognised and 2016 was one such year for Ajay Kumar who was part of Jaipur Pink Panthers last season. Recently acquired by Bengaluru Bulls, Ajay will be looking to emulate his performance as the go-to third raider of the team. With a success record of 78.26 percent in do-or-die raids, Bengaluru Bulls will hope this is the year they win the league, especially considering their other star procurement Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) : The current captain of the franchise with the most mixed fortunes in this league, Rohit Kumar was bought for a whopping Rs 81 lakh after a controversial auction bidding fight with the Puneri Paltan. The 27-year-old is also battling a personal tragedy and would like to hit the ground running without letting external factors affect his performance in the court. The most valuable player of the third season remained the most successful player in the Bengaluru franchise despite playing with injuries in the latter half of the fourth season. Rohit, who was part of the Indian team that won a gold medal in 2016 Asian Games, is fully fit and will want to prove that he is worth the big bucks spent by the Bengaluru Bulls
Anup Kumar (U-Mumba): The Indian Kabaddi team captain has also led the U-Mumba side since the first season. One of the marquee players of the sport, Anup has taken U-Mumba to three finals, winning the title once in 2015. The experienced Anup, who is among the league's top scorers (411 points), doubles up as a mentor for his teammates and takes it on himself to groom the junior members of the team. Leading the team from the front, the 2014 season's 'most valuable player' will look to marshal his resources to bounce back from a disappointing season 4 and get to the winning ways he is used to.
Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas) : An integral part of the World Cup winning Indian team, Thakur's worth was surmised by team captain Anup Kumar's words, "Ajay won us the final." Ajay known for his unique 'frog jump' was the priority pick of the recent addition to the Pro Kabaddi League, "Tamil Thalaivas". One of the most experienced players in PKL (58 matches), Ajay has earlier been a part of the Bengaluru Bulls in the first two seasons and Puneri Paltans for the other two. The team from Tamil Nadu would look to the tall, fleet-flooted athlete to lead the relatively young side to a memorable first season.
Kashiling Adake (U-Mumba) : Widely considered to be one of the most complete raiders of the game, Kashiling Adake uses his height to his advantage. The most successful raider in 2015 and one of the very few players who have a raid-point tally upwards of 400, had been the go-to raider for his former team, Dabang Delhi. One of the costliest buys in the 2017 auction, Kashiling has proved to be completely worthy of the money spent and would have an eye on the silverware considering the consistency of U-Mumba over the years. The athlete with his typical 'Hanuman Udi' stance would like to forget his exclusion from the Indian National Kabaddi team and deliver on the mat that matters.
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Updated Date: Jul 23, 2017 19:55:50 IST