The sport of Kabaddi has season a major bump in popularity, thanks to the four seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League. The sport is no longer an unknown entity and the team picked to represent India at the World Cup boasts of many familiar faces. A quick look informs us that composition is of five raiders, five all-rounders and five defenders. The Anup Kumar-led unit is a fine blend of youth and experience. Before they start trading points on the mat, here’s a quick lowdown of India’s squad for this edition.
A two-time Asian Games gold medallist, is one of the finest raiders in the sport. The 32-year old led U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi League and was instrumental in the Mumbai outfit winning the season 2 of the tournament. Anup, who will lead India in the mega event, was awarded as the most valuable player in the first season of PKL. Season 4 however was not good as U Mumba failed to make the knockouts. Anup is also a Arjuna awardee, and a Deputy Commissioner of Police in his native place of Haryana.
Chhillar, who is named as the vice-captain, has been one of PKL’s most consistent performers. Manjeet was a wrestler initially but had to abandon it after sustaining a nose injury. The 30-year old all-rounder has played for Red Bulls and currently leads Puneri Paltan in the Pro Kabaddi league.
Hooda, 22, is one of the youngest, and finest, of the team. Hailing from Rohtak, he endured a difficult childhood before emerging into a talented raider. Deepak is also known for his solid defensive skills.
Cheralathan, Patna Pirates player, is fondly referred to as Anna, and is one of the best defenders in the history of Indian Kabaddi. The 41-year old veteran will serve as a defender left corner in the present Kabaddi world cup national squad 2016.
Jasvir, the 32-year old raider, was a member of the Indian squad that won the gold at the Asian Games two years ago. With the dangerous Scorpion kick being his signature move, he is known to be a bit of a maverick. Jasvir leads Jaipur Pink Panthers, who won the inaugural season of Pro Kabaddi League. Jaipur Pink Panthers’ under his captaincy finished as runners-up in the fourth season of PKL.
Rohit, who hails from Nizampur, was the most expensive player in Pro Kabaddi League season 4 with the Bengaluru Bulls shelling out Rs 53 lakh for his services. He has been setting the mat on fire with his sensational performances in the league which helped the 22-year old break into the Indian team for the South Asian Games, where he helped India win Gold.
Parmar is an experienced defender and raider who represented Bengaluru Bulls in PKL. Parmar, who started his career at an early age by representing his school in national tournaments, got injured during season 1 of the Kabaddi League. Being a specialist in left corner touch, Kiran is expected to play a key role for the Indian team.
Tomarhas recently emerged as a shining new star of Indian Kabaddi. Nitin who hails from UP is currently a member of Manjeet Chhillar led team- Puneri Paltan.
Star player for the Patna Pirates, started his league career with the Bengaluru Bulls. The 19-year old raider has been one of the brightest players in the League, finishing the fourth edition as the most valuable player of the tournament and leading his side to second title on the trot. In only 38 league appearances, he has amassed 256 raid points. Hailing from Sonepat, he is the youngest player in India’s squad.
Nada is regarded as one of the best left corner defenders in India, has made a name for himself with that quick ‘ankle hold’. The 26-year old athlete comes from Harayana and has been a part of U Mumba and is currently a regular member of Bengaluru Bulls. In 49 league games, he has scored 138 defence points.
He has made most of the Pro Kabaddi League. He was a regular member for the Patna Pirates side for the first three seasons of the league. Ahead of Season 4, he moved to Telugu Titans after they bought him for Rs. 45.5 lakhs, making him the second-most expensive player in PKL history. While the 23-year-old is widely regarded as an all-rounder, his primary remains strong defending. He was adjudged ‘ Best Defender’ of PKL in season three, and has 161 tackle points in the PKL. Sandeep made his national debut at the the 2016 Asian Games.
Chaudhuri, captain of Telugu Titans, is the most prolific raider and known as the ‘ Poster boy of Kabaddi League’. He has been with the Titans for all four seasons of the league. The 23-year old raider is known for his speed off the blocks and agility. Rahul has often single-handedly changed games. He leads the raiders list with a 482 points in 57 games in the PKL. He also became the first athlete to score more than 100 raid points in a single season in the history of the League