vivo Pro Kabaddi has been a platform for young kabaddi stars to demonstrate their skills and claim the limelight through their performances in the sport. Throughout its nine seasons, this competition has witnessed the emergence of multiple remarkable players who have propelled their teams to success through their exceptional skills and performances.
In this article, let's look at the top 5 defenders who made a strong impression in their debut season of vivo Pro Kabaddi.
Ankush, Jaipur Pink Panthers (Season 9)
Jaipur Pink Panthers won their second vivo Pro Kabaddi trophy in Season 9, thanks to their young prodigy named Ankush. The left corner had an outstanding campaign in Season 9 with 89 tackle points and nine High 5s in just 24 matches at an average of 3.71. Despite a slow start to the season, Ankush picked up the pace and showed his excellence with his jaw-dropping ankle holds and blocks. Ankush won the Best Defender award in Season 9 as he holds the record for scoring the most tackle points by any debutant in vivo PKL history.
Mohammadreza Chiyaneh, Patna Pirates (Season 8)
Mohammadreza Chiyaneh took the kabaddi world by storm when he made his debut for Patna Pirates in vivo PKL Season 8. He recorded 10 High 5s, which is the most High 5s scored in a single season. With 89 tackle points in 24 matches, Chiyaneh was instrumental in leading Patna Pirates to their fourth vivo PKL Final. The Iranian Pirate has been a mainstay for the team since then, as he scored 84 tackle points in the next season and finished as the second-best defender of Season 9.
Sumit, U.P. Yoddhas (Season 7)
Another left corner defender who made an everlasting impression on his debut was Sumit for U.P. Yoddhas in vivo PKL Season 7. The Yoddhas sought dependable defensive support for Nitesh Kumar in the corners, and Sumit filled that void with his exceptional tackling skills. The ankle hold specialist notched up 77 tackle points in 22 matches with seven High 5s and formed a solid corner duo with Nitesh. Sumit's brilliant performances helped him bag the New Young Player award in Season 7.
Jaideep, Patna Pirates (Season 5)
With the intent of winning their third-consecutive title, Patna Pirates signed Jaideep in vivo PKL Season 5. Right from the outset, Jaideep put the onus upon himself as he helped the defensive unit with 71 tackle points in 26 matches. Despite the team having star defenders like Vishal Mane and Sachin Shingade in the covers, Jaideep rose to the occasion with his precise ankle holds and blocks to become a star defender for the team. He played a pivotal role in helping the Pirates win their third consecutive trophy.
Jaideep Dahiya, Haryana Steelers (Season 8)
Jaideep Dahiya, the only cover defender on this list, made an immediate impact during his debut season with the Haryana Steelers in vivo PKL Season 8. The Steelers introduced the new cover duo of Jaideep and Mohit, with the former quickly becoming a household name. Known for his rock-solid blocks and dashes, the left cover defender amassed an impressive 66 tackle points in 22 matches. His performances left a lasting impression, particularly among seasoned defenders like Ravi Kumar and Surender Nada.