manjeet-chhillar-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

The march of new sports leagues continues unhindered: just last week, the start of a new motorsports league was announced. While IPL may have set the standard for sports leagues, the Indian appetite for a sport league which did not involve a bat and a ball was established by the continued popularity of the Pro Kabaddi League.

Like all other leagues, the financial health of the Pro Kabaddi League can be gauged by the amounts being bid for the players (along with sponsorship deals); by that standard, it is in ruddy good health, with the biggest pay packets now crossing Rs. 1 crore. But is that amount justified? How did the costliest players play? Even Virat Kohli cannot drag Bangalore to the IPL final, after all!

Some Terms:

Super Tackle – When three defenders or less bring down a raider on a raid.

Super Raid – A raid in which a team scores three or more points by touching three or more players

Super 10 – Scoring more than 10 raid points in a match

High 5 – Tackling 5 players in a game

(Statistics from ProKabaddi)

1. Nitin Tomar – Rs. 93 Lakhs

UP Yoddha

Raider

Nitin Tomar-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

The 2017 edition saw the teams expand from 8 to 12, with one of the new teams being GMR-owned UP Yoddhas. While the Yoddhas did make it into the Eliminators, they were duly eliminated from there itself. Of course, the spotlight was always going to be on Nitin Tomar; he was the most expensive player in the whole season, was a mere 22 years old, and was captain of this new team who were making their debut. On that count, he did justify the investment; he scored 167 points in 20 games. For a fan, this may not seem like much; the star of the season, Pardeep Narwal, scored 369 raid points in the season. But as the helpful people at SportsKPI have pointed out, if you take into perspective the number of raids done, then Nitin Tomar has 8.4 raid points per game, behind just three others. Not too bad, no?

Games Played – 20

Total Points – 177

No. of raids – 327

Successful Raids – 135

Raid Points – 167

Successful Tackles – 9

Tackle Points – 10

Super Raids – 7; 4th on the list, the highest being Pardeep Narwal’s 18.

2. Rohit Kumar – 81 Lakhs

Bengaluru Bulls

Raider

Rohit Kumar-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

The second highest scorer of the season, Rohit Kumar had a cracking season; if there was one complaint, it was that had he hit his purple patch earlier, he could have single-handedly guided Bangalore to the playoffs; UP Yoddha ultimately finished a mere 3 points above them. Overall, Rohit Kumar was second to only Pardeep Narwal in Season 5. Rohit was the first player to break the 30-raid point record in a match, in the PKL. In the process, he broke Rishank Devadiga’s record, set earlier in the same season. He was also the closest from the rest of the field, compared to Pardeep Narwal. He finished the season with 420 raids, and 219 raid points, with an average of 7.6 raid points per game, according to SportsKPI again. For the 2018 season, Rohit has been retained by Bangalore, with the addition of new raiders.

Games Played – 22

Total Points – 231

Successful Raids – 192

Raid Points – 219

Successful Tackles – 11

Tackle Points – 12

3. Manjeet Chillar – Rs. 75.5 Lakhs

Jaipur Pink Panther

All-Rounder

manjeet-chhillar-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

He could have done much better; at least, that’s the feeling looking back at his Season 5. The all-rounder raced to 200 overall tackle points this season, the first to do so; he was also the skipper for Jaipur Pink Panthers and played a vital role in securing their games. However, a combination of too much responsibility on his shoulders, along with the team itself, held him back. This season, considering he is on the wrong side of 30 (31 actually), age might have been a deal-breaker for his team. He was let go of, and will be lining up for the Thalaivas in 2018 (who this time around 20 Lakhs for him).

Games Played – 15

Total Points – 52

Successful Raids – 4

Raid Points – 5

Successful Tackles – 46

Tackle Points – 47

4. Surjeet Singh – Rs. 73 Lakhs

Bengal Warriors

Defender

Surjeet Singh-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

How did the costliest players play, is a question for which Surjeet Singh can be a good answer. Scoring 76 tackle points from 24 games, he was one of the best defenders in the league. Behind only Surender Nada of the Haryana Steelers, the difference between them was of a mere 4 points. This statistic was also reflected in his performance; he performed 72 successful tackles, again second to only Surender Nada with 74 tackles. On the other end of the field, he managed to earn 3 points from his 3 raids. Of course, it makes sense that Bengal has retained him for this season too.

Games Played – 24

Total Points – 79

Successful Tackles – 72

Tackle Points – 76

Successful Raids – 3

Raid Points – 3

5. Rajesh Narwal – Rs. 69 Lakhs

UP Yoddha

All-rounder

Rajesh Narwal-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

While he has not been as prolific as the other Narwals, the dip in his stock has been alarming. Playing the first 4 seasons for Jaipur, he was signed up by Uttar Pradesh as part of their first season. But in spite of the price tag (or maybe because of it) he failed to impress at either end of the field, with a relatively too low number of successful raids and tackles. The fall in the belief in him can be seen by the fact that this season, he was picked up by Delhi for just 16 Lakhs.

Games Played – 16

Total Points – 27

Successful Raids – 7

Raid Points – 11

Successful Tackles – 15

Tackle Points – 16

6. Sandeep Narwal – Rs. 66 Lakhs

Puneri Paltan

All-rounder

Sandeep Narwal-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

For the money shelled out for him, he was value for money, with even the league calling him one of the 5 players who justified their price tag; for some reason, SportsKPI also put him on the list of the players who performed worst in the season, according to their metrics. While his defensive capabilities may be marginally better than his offensive, he clearly enjoys the trust of the team; Puneri Paltan has retained him for the 2018 season.

Games Played – 21

Total Points – 85

Successful Raids – 29

Raid Points – 33

Successful Tackles – 49

Tackle Points – 52

7. Amit Hooda – Rs. 63 Lakhs

Tamil Thalaivas

Defender

Amit Hooda-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

An interesting season for the defender, and for the team too; while the team from Tamil Nadu may have not made it to the later stages of the tournament, their approach to team-building and the relatively more importance given to the youth won them many admirers. Amit Hooda meanwhile, after catching the eye in Season 4 for the Jaipur Pink Panthers, did not fare so well this time; he was even criticised by the Thalaivas’ coach for giving up too many points, with his relatively poor form (at least in the intial part of the season) being noted by others too. He later went on to complete 6 Super Tackles in the season. Be that as it may, Amit has been retained by the team for 2018, and there is a new coach at the helm too, as Edachery Bhaskaran replaces Kasinatha Baskaran.

Games Played – 22

Total Points – 61

Tackle Points – 61

Successful Tackles – 55

8. Jeeva Kumar – Rs. 52 Lakhs

UP Yoddha

Defender

Jeeva Kumar-how did the costliest players play-kabaddi-pro kabaddi league

Retained for the 2018 season at 45 Lakhs, he completed 7 Super Tackles, the most by any player in the league. Apart from that though, he did not have too good a season last year; he was far from the best in the league, both in terms of successful tackles (Surender Nada – 74) & tackle points (Surender Nada – 80), especially as the top 5 or even the top 10 in both the categories are closely placed. More or less, he was good in patches. The Tamil Nadu-born player has another chance to justify his price tag for the UP Yoddhas, after being retained for 2018.

Games Played – 22

Total Points – 44 (all Tackle Points)

Successful Tackles – 37

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