The Pro Kabaddi has been home to some of the top talents the sport has to offer as well as the most exceptional raiders the sport has ever seen. The league has grown in leaps and bounds over the seven seasons of its existence and has contributed immensely to the growth of Kabaddi worldwide.
Experts say that the fast-paced, thrilling nature of the league is the major reason for its popularity and the players who contribute to this greatly are the raiders. Here we take a look at the top raiders the Pro Kabaddi has witnessed over the years.
1 – PARDEEP NARWAL
‘Record-Breaker’ Pardeep Narwal is undoubtedly the best raider to have graced Pro Kabaddi. His style of play and the ability to deliver in crunch situations is unmatched in this sport. Even though Pardeep has just been a part of the league for six seasons now, he stands miles ahead of the others when it comes to total raid points.
He made his debut in the second edition and just featured six times for the Bengaluru Bulls. However, ever since switching sides to Patna Pirates ahead of the third season, it has been an unprecedented journey for him. Patna went on to lift three consecutive Pro Kabaddi titles with him at the helm.
The number of records Pardeep has to his name is equally incredible. He became the first player to reach the 1000-raid points milestone in Pro Kabaddi, a feat he achieved in Season 6. The ‘Record-Breaker’ also became the first individual to cross 50 Super Raids in the league’s history. He has registered 1160 raid points from 107 matches with an extraordinary average of 10.84 raid points per match – a stat that’s unheard of in the Kabaddi circuit.
2 – RAHUL CHAUDHARI
Rahul Chaudhari has been one of the most consistent performers in the Pro Kabaddi. He made an instant impact in the inaugural season of the league, scoring 151 raid points for the Telugu Titans. This led to him being considered as the ‘Poster Boy’ for Kabaddi in India.
However, fans saw the best of Chaudhari in the fourth season as he stacked up 146 points in just 16 matches and was rightly adjudged as the ‘Best Raider’ of the season. He also holds the joint-highest points in do-or-die raids overall. The Tamil Thalaivas star raider currently stands second on the list with 955 raid points to his name and is one of the best all-round raiders in Pro Kabaddi till date.
3 – DEEPAK NIWAS HOODA
Deepak Hooda has been a regular name in Pro Kabaddi since Season 1. The 26-year old has the maximum experience amongst all the raiders statistically speaking with 123 matches in his career so far. Deepak has managed 698 successful raids resulting in 856 points, which makes him the third-best raider of all time.
In the inaugural season’s auction, Hooda was the recipient of the second-highest bid having been bought by the Telegu Titans. He later went on to represent Puneri Paltan for a couple of seasons before plying his trade for the Jaipur Pink Panthers in recent years. In Season 7, Deepak managed to score 146 points from 20 matches and was amongst the Top 10 raiders of the edition.
4 – AJAY THAKUR
The veteran has been a top-class player in Pro Kabaddi. Having donned the jersey for Bengaluru Bulls, Puneri Paltan and Tamil Thalaivas over the years, Thakur has accumulated 790 points from 640 successful raids.
He uses his experience to the utmost advantage and his ability to deliver in big match situations is unparalleled. The Indian Kabaddi team captain has also been a part of several last-minute victories for his side and was the hero of India’s 2016 Kabaddi World Cup triumph. His calm demeanour under pressure has earned him the nickname – ‘Iceman’.
In Season 5, Thakur led from the front and bagged 213 raid points for the Tamil Thalaivas, in what was his most successful season in the Pro Kabaddi till date.
5 – MANINDER SINGH
In just 79 Pro Kabaddi matches, Maninder Singh has notched up 731 raid points. The journey for the raider in the Pro Kabaddi started in its first season with Jaipur Pink Panthers where he managed to score the most raid points for the team.
He returned to the league in Season 5 with the Bengal Warriors, where he stacked up 192 points before delivering more than 200 raid points in back-to-back campaigns in Season 6 and 7. He was also bestowed with captaincy duties for the Warriors in Season 7 and under his leadership, the team went on to lift their first Pro Kabaddi title.
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