Season 7 of vivo Pro Kabaddi has been kind to defenders with most defences dominating proceedings, especially, at the start of the league. While plenty of robust tacklers like ‘Sultan’ Fazel Atrachali and U.P. Yoddha' Nitesh Kumar are still in contention for the vivo Pro Kabaddi crown and will be part of the playoffs; several renowned defenders have already bid adieu to Season 7. Here are five top defenders who won’t be a part of playoffs week.
1. Sandeep Dhull – Jaipur Pink Panthers
On top of the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 leaderboard for Tackle Points for most of the campaign, Jaipur Pink Panthers’ Left Corner Sandeep Dhull was one of the most lethal and decisive defenders in the league. He scored 73 tackle points and was rock-solid against opposition raiders regardless of how the decks were stacked against him. His seven Super Tackles and five High 5s are a testament to that along with his commendable average tackle points of 3.32.
2. Surjeet Singh – Puneri Paltan
No player has recorded more High 5s than Puneri Paltan skipper Surjeet Singh, who registered seven of them this season. Unfortunately, inconsistent performances meant that Surjeet and his team wouldn’t make it beyond the league stage. However, a look at his Season 7 numbers will reveal that he enjoyed one of his better campaigns on a personal front. After all, a lot of defenders would have gladly accepted Surjeet’s numbers of seven Super Tackles, seven High 5s and 63 Tackle Points at the start of the season.
3. Vishal Bhardwaj – Telugu Titans
Even though he’s still relatively young, Vishal Bhardwaj has already established himself as one of the best Left Corners in the sport. The pick of the defenders for Telugu Titans for the second successive season, Bhardwaj ended his campaign with 62 Tackle Points and a tackle strike rate of 55.35%. He also managed five High 5s and nine Super Tackles as he outperformed the rest of his teammates including skipper Abozar Mohajermighani in defence.
4. Neeraj Kumar – Patna Pirates
Patna Pirates’ defence didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory but the performances of Neeraj Kumar were one of the few positives that they can take from the season. Neeraj finished as their top defender with 59 Tackle Points, five Super Tackles and four High 5s. His standout display from the campaign came against Puneri Paltan in Pune. He scored a record-equalling 11 Tackle Points in that game and was Patna Pirates’ biggest threat in defence for most of Season 7.
5. Parvesh Bhainswal – Gujarat Fortunegiants
Gujarat Fortunegiants are known to be solid in defence, however, Season 7 saw them be uncharacteristically loose defensively. As a result, they endured a forgettable season that saw them fail to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their history. Parvesh Bhainswal was their most consistent performer in defence even though he didn’t quite enjoy the best of campaigns by his high standards. He finished with 55 Tackle Points, four High 5s and three Super Tackles.