A host of talented players have made it to the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage after graduating from the Future Kabaddi Heroes programme and have gone on to make a telling impact in the league, but none more so than U.P. Yoddha’s Right Corner Nitesh Kumar.
Despite their squad boasting of some of the league’s biggest stars like Rishank Devadiga, Prashanth Kumar Rai and Jeeva Kumar, it was U.P. Yoddha’s FKH graduate Nitesh Kumar who lit the stage up with his historic campaign IN Season VI. After being picked from the New Young Players’ category in 2017 and having a promising rookie campaign, Nitesh blossomed into one of the league best defender and led his team all the way to Qualifier 2 in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi Playoffs in Season VI.
To fully understand the splendour of Nitesh’s campaign, let’s look at some of the records that the Right Corner set over the course of the campaign.
The first ever defensive century
After scoring 47 tackle points in his impressive rookie campaign in Season V, Nitesh more than doubled his tally in the subsequent campaign, scoring a 100 tackle points in just 25 matches. He broke the previous record of most tackle points in a single campaign set by then-Haryana Steelers’ skipper Surender Nada in Season V with 80.
While scoring 100 tackle points in a single campaign is a legendary feat on its own, Nitesh’s efficiency in scoring those points was also off the charts. Among players with over 30 tackle points in a campaign, only Fazel Atrachali had a better tackle strike rate (72.22) than Nitesh’s 64.93, and he achieved that all the way back in Season IV. But it is worth noting that the Iranian attempted 82 fewer tackles than Nitesh did in Season VI and scored 48 fewer tackle points.
Building on his stellar performances during the league stage, Nitesh continued to dominate in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season VI Playoffs, and scored 17 tackles points in just three matches, averaging over a High 5 per game and scoring his tackles points at a magnificent strike rate of 70.83. His tally of 17 is the joint-most in the knockout stages of a single campaign alongside Patna Pirates’ Jaideep, who needed four matches to score 17 tackles points in Season V.
Third quickest to 100 tackle points
Having scored 47 tackle points in 19 games in Season V, Nitesh needed only 15 further matches to score 53 tackle points and complete a century in VIVO Pro Kabaddi. By scoring 100 tackle points in just 34 matches, Nitesh became the third quickest to that mark in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history, behind Ravinder Pahal and Vishal Bhardwaj.