Top 5 Kabaddi Players in the Indian Kabaddi League
With the competition having reached its halfway stage, and many closely fought games of fantasy kabaddi being played on Howzat for big prizes, now is a good time to assess which players have made the most impact on the Indian Kabaddi League so far this season. Here we look beyond just the numbers to figure who have been the top 2 raiders, the best 2 defenders and the stand-out all-rounder.
Surjeet Singh – Defender (Tamil)
Pawan Sehrawat and Naveen Kumar may have created dozens of headlines with their aggressive raiding skills, but there’s no doubt who the player of the season has been so far. When Surjeet Singh moved from the Puneri team to Tamil before the start of this season, few would have expected the kind of transformation he has been able to bring about. In their first 3 seasons in the league, Tamil finished bottom of the standings every time. It didn’t matter whether they had an Ajay Thakur or a Manjeet Chhillar in their ranks. The final outcome was the same. But starting with a dramatic opening-day draw against Telugu, Tamil have been a revelation this season. They have lost just 2 of 10 games, and if they win their upcoming game against Gujarat, they could be as high as 4th at the halfway stage. Central to that progress up the table has been Surjeet, with 36 successful tackles and a tackle strike rate of 64. In his best outing, he scored with 8 of 9 tackles attempted in a 45-26 thrashing of Haryana. His tackling and leadership will be crucial as Tamil seek an unexpected play-off place this season.
Sagar – Defender (Tamil)
Several teams in the competition have learned that having one outstanding defender isn’t quite enough. Tamil have two. Surjeet has shown his teammates the way and they have enthusiastically followed his lead. The pick of them has been Sagar, with 31 successful tackles, 35 points and a tackle strike rate of 56. Sagar actually had a strike rate of 55 in 13 games in 2019, but it’s hard to catch the eye in a struggling team. This season, his efforts have helped Tamil become the league’s most improved side. Having scored with 7 out of his 8 tackles in the defeat of Haryana, Sagar followed up with a combined 7 tackles against Bengal and Jaipur. As with Surjeet, his captain, his consistency has been key. He’s rarely had a bad game, and only Patna have made more tackles per game as a team than Tamil, this season’s surprise package.
Sahul Kumar – All-rounder (Jaipur)
You can’t talk of individuals transforming a team’s fortunes without mentioning Jaipur and Sahul Kumar. After losing 4 of their first 6 matches, Jaipur have stormed into the play-off places with 3 wins and a draw. At the heart of that surge has been Sahul Kumar, whose 27 successful tackles are nearly a third of Jaipur’s total of 82 after 10 matches. He has a tackle strike rate of 53, and his average tackle points per game of 3.22 is behind only Surjeet and Sagar among those who have played at least 5 matches. He had 7 successful tackles out of 9 attempted in the come-from-behind victory that ended Delhi’s unbeaten start to the season. And with 4 tackle points against Patna, the other team at the top of the table, Sahul ensured that Jaipur went into the second half believing they could beat anyone.
Naveen Kumar – Raider (Delhi)
A knee problem forced Naveen to miss the heavy defeat against Bengaluru and the narrow win against Patna, the other two teams tussling with Delhi at the top of the table. He also limped off midway through against Haryana. But before the knee limited his impact, Naveen was almost unstoppable as Delhi started the season with a 7-match unbeaten run. Even after his injury setback, Naveen has more raid points per game (15) than anyone else. His raid strike rate of 65 has been superb, and a few minutes of the Naveen Express were often enough to derail opposition hopes. If you know how to play fantasy kabaddi well, you must have picked Naveen Kumar in the fantasy kabaddi games you’ve played this season.
Pawan Sehrawat – Raider (Bengaluru)
After finishing top of the raid points table in 2018 and 2019, Sehrawat is on course for a hat-trick of raiding titles. At the halfway stage, he has 151 raid points at a tremendous strike rate of 67. He was at his absolute best in a comprehensive thrashing of Naveen-less Delhi, racking up 27 points from 27 raids. He followed that with 19 points against Gujarat, and even in the defeat to Patna that cost Bengaluru the top spot, he managed 10 points from 15 raids. Bengaluru average nearly 23 raid points a game, much more than any other team, and has also tackled as well as the other top defensive units. Their title defence in 2019 ended with a semi-final loss. But if Sehrawat can keep up this kind of form, a second title is very much within reach.
If you’ve been following the exciting action of the Indian Kabaddi League, you can further enhance your enjoyment by downloading the Howzat fantasy app and playing fantasy kabaddi games against friends and experts. Learn the fantasy kabaddi rules, read match previews, and pit your wits against other lovers of the sport. Start playing now!