Kabaddi is a fast-paced game and the excitement of a quick 30-second raid can barely be matched by any other sport. However, many times it is the pace and technical finesse of the raiders that manages to catch people’s eye and gets cheered on most. Defenders have to serve as the silent protectors most of the times and their contribution often gets overlooked. It takes tremendous skill and strength to be good at the craft though, especially since the best defenders often hunt in pairs. When it comes to corner defenders, apart from tackling ability, a good understanding with each other is vital for forming an effective partnership. We look at a few such defensive duos who have gone on to make a name for themselves in the sport.
Surender Nada - Mohit Chhillar
A classic example of what can happen when talent meets skill and understanding. Nada and Chhillar are both defensive stalwarts in their own right, but when they come together they can strike terror into the hearts of even the most experienced raiders. In Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi the defensive duo was seen playing for Haryana Steelers and they made sure opposition raiders thought twice when they wanted to go for a quick bonus and even managed to wiggle out of a number of situations where the team could have been all-out, by inflicting Super Tackles.
Fazel Atrachali - Abozar Mighani
There is little that can be said of this corner duo that hasn’t been said already. They form the pillars of the Iranian team’s defence and showed the same grit and resolve while playing for Gujarat Fortunegiants in Season 5. They managed 122 tackle points between them and their understanding and quick reaction was the main reason Gujarat managed to reach the finals of the league in their maiden season.
Nilesh Shinde - Bajirao Hodage
Though Dabang Delhi K.C. had a forgettable Season 5 in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, with their defence failing a number of times and conceding easy points, the effectiveness of their two defensive mainstays, Nilesh Shinde and Bajirao Hodage cannot be doubted. The two come from the state of Maharashtra and Hodage has often credited Shinde for being an able friend and guide in the world of kabaddi. Shinde’s ankle holds are among the best in the league, and when they are combined with Hodage’s strong dashes, opponents get over powered before they know what hit them.
Girish Maruti Ernak - Viraj Vishnu Landge
Ernak and Landge may have played for different franchises in Season 5, but the two form a lethal combination at the back for their state of Maharashtra. They have the advantage of having age on their side which allows them to constantly evolve their game with each tournament they play together. They recently took Maharashtra to a title victory in the Senior National Kabaddi Championship, which is proof of what they can achieve when they play together.
Vishal Bhardwaj - Sombir
The two youngsters, Vishal Bhardwaj and Sombir, took a while to form a good understanding while playing together in Telugu Titans, but once they did, they were among the most fearsome defensive combinations in the league. The fact that the duo don’t have much experience of playing together showed early on in the league, but once they got their eye in they scored 110 points between themselves. They managed to give a late boost to the Telugu Titans campaign and keep them in the hunt till the end of the league stage. If the two keep playing together they can only improve from here and it will be interesting to see how they find common ground in coming seasons.