The rise of Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Nitesh Kumar in Season 6 is the earmark of kabaddi’s bright future.
While VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 saw a host of top familiar faces continue to dominate headlines, the campaign also witnessed a plethora of new names make a huge impact in the league.
Patna Pirates skipper Pardeep Narwal was crowned ‘Best Raider’ for the second year running, however, players such as Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, Nitesh Kumar and Siddharth Desai amongst others shone on the mat and enjoyed stellar campaigns in Season 6.
Sehrawat, the winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award in Season 6, led the Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden VIVO Pro Kabaddi title while U.P. Yoddha’s Nitesh Kumar became the first defender in league history to hit triple figures for tackle points in a single campaign. Raider Siddharth Desai had a phenomenal start to his VIVO Pro Kabaddi career and finished with over 200 raid points, becoming the first player to do so in their rookie campaign and was instrumental in U Mumba’s qualification to the playoffs in Season 6.
The Gujarat Fortunegiants’ cover duo of Sachin Kumar (youngest captain in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history) and Parvesh Bhainswal shattered tackle point records for their respective positions and led their team to the final of Season 6 where they were beaten by Bengaluru Bulls in a thrilling contest.
While these upcoming stars were at the forefront of the rise of the new era, players like Vikash Khandola and Naveen Kumar were also magnificent for the Haryana Steelers and Dabang Delhi K.C., respectively, and showed great poise and maturity in leading the offence for their teams in the campaign gone by. Both Khandola and Kumar (who was the youngest player in VIVO Pro Kabaddi last season) were terrific in their roles as lead raiders and finished among the top ten scorers in the league with 177 points each.
This year’s auctions saw several young Indian players attract massive attention from all the teams, with the likes of raiders Manjeet and Naveen being picked up for hefty price tags by Puneri Paltan and Haryana Steelers, respectively, after their excellent individual campaigns in Season 6.
The overseas players too were highly coveted, with Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh, who will be making his VIVO Pro Kabaddi debut in Season 7 with the Bengal Warriors and South Korean raider Dong Geon Lee, who will play for U Mumba in the upcoming campaign. The upcoming season promises to be a campaign where a new generation of kabaddi players establishes themselves as top stars in the league and elevate the sport on a global level.