As the Pro Kabaddi League is on the cusp of its landmark 10th season this year and it's time to celebrate the glorious journey. As we build towards the landmark edition, PKL will look back at some of the biggest moments through the PKL MVP's Special Memories content series. Each of the players who have won the Most Valuable Player Award will speak about how PKL has changed their lives.
Amongst the Pro Kabaddi League’s lightning young prodigies, stands 5 feet 10-inch-tall raider, who has taken the league by storm ever since his entry in 2018. Naveen Kumar, who made his way as a New Young Player to Dabang Delhi K.C. in Season 6 has gone on to become their go-to man ever since.
It took the then 21-year-old just 47 matches to notch 500 raid points in December 2021, becoming the fastest player in PKL to reach the milestone. To add to that his 28 successive Super 10s - the most by any player in the history of PKL, established him as a household name among the kabaddi fraternity.
Now onto his fifth season with Dabang Delhi K.C., Naveen is full of excitement and looks forward to a historic 10th campaign for the team. “After cricket, this is one of the leagues that has completed 10 years and has been continuously doing well with exciting new talent coming in every year and current players doing well consistently. PKL has come a long way since its conception, from 8 teams to 12, from 8 cities to 12. It’s a huge achievement for the sport of kabaddi. We have seen kabaddi get popularised like never before thanks to PKL in the last 10 years.” quoted the 23-year-old.
Recalling his best moment from his time in PKL, Naveen said, “It has to be that moment in Season 8 when we lifted the trophy for the first time. It is one of the most unforgettable memories I have so far. Ever since PKL started back in 2014, I used to watch it on TV and I had always dreamt of picking up that trophy one day, so it was truly special.”
Not to forget, Naveen Kumar, who by then had become popular by the name ‘Naveen Express’ went on to be adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in Season 7 and Season 8, the only player along with Pardeep Narwal in PKL's history to be adjudged the MVP in two consecutive seasons. He went on to explain the secret behind his and the team’s massive success in Dabang Delhi K.C.'s title winning campaign in Season 8.
“I think there was great support from everyone - the coach and the experienced players in the team. We went into the season with the belief and confidence that we have to lift the trophy and trained our level best to achieve that goal. I think it’s just your will-power, the confidence in your abilities and the belief that you can be on top of the league that drove us to the title,” stated Naveen.
Looking forward to the upcoming season, the dynamic raider has his eyes once again set on the silverware as he aims to lead Dabang Delhi K.C. to their second PKL title. “The target for the season is obviously to go all the way and establish ourselves as the champions once again. But on a personal level, I will look to avoid any injuries and focus on staying fit throughout the campaign. I can't wait for the 10th season to start as this is truly a milestone season for not just the league but also for our sport of kabaddi,” concluded Naveen Kumar.
The momentous 10th edition of the Pro Kabaddi League is slated to begin on 2nd December 2023 in Ahmedabad as PKL once again goes back to the original caravan format of all 12 cities.