"Offence Wins Games, Defence Wins Championships." This adage is common in the footballing world but seems true when it comes kabaddi as well. The defenders are the ones who do the dirty work with their tackles and holds, and although their efforts do get recognition and appreciation it is nowhere close to the adulation that the raiders enjoy.
In a group stage, which was dominated by the raiders, there were a few defenders who swam against the tide to leave their mark on the tournament. Offering a good, solid foundation for their teams, they are the real anchors around whom the raiders’ exploits revolve.
The defence which provides solidarity and security with the strong ankle and thigh holds to the mighty body blocks and chain tackles, is instrumental to any teams’ success. Here’s a look at the 5 best defenders who proved their mettle at the World Cup:
#5 Surjeet (India)
In the shadows of Manjeet Chhillar and Dharmaraj Cheralathan, two of the most experienced defending campaigners emerged the young gun Surjeet. He has averaged around 3.4 successful tackles per match, and been all but threatening in the cover position for the Indian team playing in combination with Manjeet Chhillar.
His captain at U Mumba and the national team, Anup Kumar has shown immense faith in his abilities by drafting him in the starting 7 since the very first match at the World Cup. The man from the heartland of kabaddi in India, Sonipat in Haryana has unfailingly proved his worth with 17 successful tackles that puts him on the leaderboard.
Surjeet has really come into his own in his last two outings against England and Argentina with his body blocks and thigh holds that have caused him to become a formidable aspect of the Indian team. He will surely be a player to watch out for in the semi-finals and the finals if the team crosses the former hurdle.