VIVO Pro Kabaddi has been a proving ground for a number of kabaddi stars. Many big names have emerged from the league and now are counted among the stalwarts of the game. Season 5 also saw quite a few unknown names grab the spotlight and show off their abilities. Here is a list of youngsters who made a big impact in the recent season:
Gujarat Fortunegiants had an extremely experienced defensive line up going into their debut season, but their attacking options were often thought to be limited. However, young Sachin emerged as a surprise package for the team from Ahmedabad. The prolific raider managed to score 159 points from 24 games and was among the top 10 raiders of the season. His fearless raiding and quick escapes brought Gujarat to their maiden final in their debut season itself and managed to get him a slot in the Indian team for the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship.
The corner defender from Telugu Titans was a standout performer who single-handedly steadied the show for the Titans on a number of occasions. He scored 71 tackle points from the 22 games he played and was the third most successful defender of the season, behind seasoned campaigners Surender Nada and Surjeet Singh. His ankle holds and dashes made him a force to be reckoned with and earned him a call for the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship team.
Vikas Kandola led the attacking charge for debutants Haryana Steelers, scoring 58 points in the 9 games he played for them. Unfortunately he got injured mid-way through the campaign and missed out on playing a full season for his team. However, in the few games he played, he managed to match big names from the team like Wazir Singh and Prashanth Kumar Rai in attack and even overshadowed them on many occasions, which bodes well for the youngster’s future.
Jaipur Pink Panthers may have had a dismal campaign in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs after a below par performance at home, but the emergence of all-rounder Nitin Rawal gave their fans some reason to cheer. Rawal essayed his role as a corner specialist with ease and even proved a more than effective raider for the team on a number of occasions. He was on the brink of being the first player in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history to achieve the double of managing a Super 10 and High 5 in the same game but he narrowly missed out on the feat. He still impressed one and all, though, and definitely seems to have a bright future ahead.
Patna Pirates were thought to be heavily dependent on their two main raiders, Dubki King Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat, in the initial stages of the league. However, their defence came good when it mattered the most and helped them secure their third title on the trot. A large part of the credit for this goes to Jaideep who led the charge for the Pirates in the defence department. Jaideep scored 71 tackle points from 26 games and was tied with Vishal Bhardwaj as the third most successful defender of the season.