These five players shone in their debut season on the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage.
VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 saw some excellent performances from a number of newer names who came to the fore and managed to impress one-and-all with their consistency, skill and technique, putting them in the running to be the future stars of the sport. We take a look at a few of these players who made an instant impact in the league in their debut season itself.
1. Siddharth Desai – U Mumba
U Mumba’s rookie sensation Siddharth Desai had an extremely impressive campaign in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 where he was in the running for becoming the raider with the most raid points but eventually finished with 218 raid points in 21 matches, the third-highest tally this campaign. He scored his raid points at an impressive average of 10.38 per game which put him third in the league in that regard as well. He also had 10 Super Raids and 12 Super 10s to show for his efforts this season. A powerful raider with an uncanny ability to make a quick escape, Desai’s skillset make him an extremely potent weapon in offence.
2. Naveen Kumar – Dabang Delhi K.C.
Dabang Delhi K.C. made their maiden VIVO Pro Kabaddi Playoffs appearance this season and one of the most significant contributors to their campaign was rookie raider Naveen Kumar, who finished the season as their best raider and the season’s eighth-best raider. The youngster had 172 raid points and five tackle points to his name and also made a valuable contribution to the team’s cause when they became the first team to best Gujarat Fortunegiants at home this season. Kumar’s ability to find the weak spots in the opponent’s defence and exploit them have served him well in his debut season and he showed maturity beyond his years in leading an experienced Dabang Delhi K.C. side’s offence in Season 6.
3. Naveen – Haryana Steelers
Another Naveen who was highly impressive this season was the young debutant raider from Haryana Steelers who in his maiden campaign managed to surpass the 100-point mark and even scored the first Super 10 of his VIVO Pro Kabaddi career. His best performance was a 17-point showing and he managed four Super Raids and two Super Tackles in Season 6 to showcase what a valuable asset he is on both sides of the kabaddi mat. Naveen managed to hold his own in his debut season and quickly became one of the go-to players in the Haryana Steelers roster when they needed quick points. He also managed 18 raid points in Do-or-Die situations.
4. Manjeet – Patna Pirates
Playing in the same team as the legendary Pardeep Narwal is no mean task but young Manjeet managed to hold his own and support the raider brilliantly throughout Season 6. A tall raider who knows how to use his reach to good effect, Manjeet was the perfect foil for Narwal as he could quickly get some raid points to keep the scoreboard ticking for his team. Manjeet finished his season as Patna Pirates’ second-best raider with 87 raid points to his team which included 2 Super 10s and 3 Super Raids. He also managed 15 tackle points, making him another debutant who crossed the 100 point barrier in Season 6.
5. Narender – U.P. Yoddha
Playing alongside Jeeva Kumar in the Cover region for U.P. Yoddha, Narender became the first player from the team to get a High 5; a feat he managed in their opening match itself. Having an efficient short Block and a powerful Dash at his disposal, Narender managed to hold down some big raiders in his debut season itself owing to his impeccable timing and power. Narender eventually managed two High 5s in a campaign which fetched him 42 tackle points and saw him become U.P. Yoddha’s third-most successful defender. He also put in 5 Super Tackles which put his joint-fifth on that list for Season 6.