With four new teams entering the fray in Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, the competition got even more intense this season. The eight existing teams had to reshuffle their squad and battle it out to secure the services of the players they wanted. However, they were given the choice to retain one player from their existing squad before releasing the rest and some of the teams made full use of this opportunity to strengthen their ranks. We look at some of the retained players who justified their team’s faith in them.
1. Pardeep Narwal – Patna Pirates
The Dubki King was the toast of the season for Patna Pirates as he shattered record after record and becoming the second most successful raider in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history. The Patna captain scored 369 raid points in the season and also claimed the title of the highest scorer in a single game with his 34-point effort against Haryana Steelers in the second Eliminator. His dominance of the opposition took Patna clear of every other team as they eased their way to a third straight VIVO Pro Kabaddi title triumph.
2. Deepak Hooda – Puneri Paltan
Puneri Paltan had a wealth of experience in their ranks in Season 4 which made the choice of which player to retain that much more difficult. Eventually they went with the aggressive Deepak Hooda for his leadership abilities and it paid them rich dividends. Hooda led from the front scoring 186 points from the 24 games he played. He also added valuable back up in defence which proved decisive on a number of occasions.
3. Anup Kumar – U Mumba
Captain Cool Anup Kumar has led the U Mumba side since the first season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi and was an obvious choice when it came to retaining a player for Season 5. Kumar brings all his experience into play when he takes the mat. His swift toe touches and surprise ankle holds make the wily raider an asset to any side. He had an average season by his standards in which he scored 135 points from 21 games but he stood firm and anchored the U Mumba ship on a number of occasions which saved the team from big losses.
4. Rahul Chaudhari – Telugu Titans
Raid Machine Rahul Chaudhari might have had a below par season but he still managed to score 193 points from 22 games and was among the top 5 scorers of the season. The Titans failed to provide the swift raider with the right kind of back up which hurt his morale, leading to a number of disappointing performances early on. But the Raid Machine soon picked up pace and showed why he is considered to be among the deadliest raiders in the game. He fought a lone battle on a number of occasions but failed to get his team to the playoffs. He will now look to work even harder and bounce back even higher in the coming season.