It could just take that one historic raid or tackle for a kabaddi player to turn his fortunes around. It’s the nature of this fast-paced, adrenalin-inducing sport that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats right till the very end. Split-second decisions, judgement calls, charting out raiding and defence strategies, and pulling them off in those pressure moments make a player.
The appeal of kabaddi also lies in the opportunity it provides lesser known players to compete with the big names and the opportunity for many to write their own destiny through their performances.
VIVO Pro Kabaddi has already seen the emergence of some young talent like Sachin, Rohit Gulia, Jaideep and Vishal Bhardwaj who have announced themselves as big game players after performing consistently for their team in the league. Here we list down 5 players who could make a mark for their respective teams this season.
1. Harish Naik – Bengaluru Bulls
Harish Naik’s most impressive performance came in a match against Bengal Warriors in Season 5 where he scored 11 points and emerged as the highest scorer of the game. His remarkable maturity in raiding never betrayed his young age and the 24 points he scored in the season don’t do justice to the talent that Naik possesses. This season he will be showing up for the Bulls again, but with VIVO Pro Kabaddi experience on his side now, Naik will surely be looking to add many more points to his kitty.
2. Vijay – Patna Pirates
One of the keys to Patna Pirates’ title victory in Season 5, Vijay is a young all-rounder who is reliable on both sides of the mat, in attack and defence. While Pardeep Narwal undoubtedly stole the show for the Pirates, Vijay’s solid work was instrumental in shoring up defence along with Jaideep and Jawahar Dagar and then picking up raid points to revive the team’s primary raiders, Narwal and Monu Goyat. His 27 raid points and 37 tackle points prove how effective he was on the games he played. He could once again be the go-to man for Patna to provide the team with an all-round balance over the course of the league.
3. Sandeep Dhull – Jaipur Pink Panthers
The man with the most Super Tackles in Season 3, Sandeep Dhull will be making a comeback to the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage with Jaipur Pink Panthers. Unfazed in pressure situations, he can be relied upon to turn matches around, as his Super Tackle tally attests. He was consistently among the top 10 defenders in Season 3 and 4 but missed the previous season of the league. In Season 6 he will have Mohit Chhillar in the other corner and mentors like Deepak Hooda and Captain Cool Anup Kumar in the same team which will undoubtedly bring out the best.
4. Ruturaj Koravi – Gujarat Fortunegiants
One of the pillars of the 2017-18 Maharashtra team that ended the state’s 11-year drought in the Senior National Kabaddi Championship, young Ruturaj Koravi managed to hold his own in the Right Corner in a team led by kabaddi stalwart Rishank Devadiga. He provided able support to the experienced Girish Maruti Ernak who donned the other corner and together they ensured that opposition raiders had to fight hard for every point. His impressive display caught many eyes and he will be seen playing for the Gujarat Fortunegiants this season who will hope he brings similar results for their side.
5. Nitin Mavi – U.P. Yoddha
Following his national-level kabaddi playing father’s legacy, Nitin Mavi is a second-generation kabaddi player from his family. A Right Cover defender who specialises in blocking and dashing raiders off the mat, Mavi will be sharing space with veteran Jeeva Kumar and another bright youngster Sagar Krishna in U.P. Yoddha this season.