The Pro Kabaddi League is fast approaching us as the action kicks off on the 7th October in Chennai, Tamil Nadu when the hosts Tamil Thalaivas will take on defending champions Patna Pirates in the opening fixture.
Over the past five seasons, Patna Pirates have emerged champions in the past three seasons consecutively owing to their main raider Pardeep Narwal as he has smashed records left and right in the league. However, there have been some raiders who have played and won the championship with the Pirates.
We take a look at some of the raiders who you might not know had featured for the Patna Pirates in the earlier seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League.
#5 Mahesh Goud
The first man on the list is Mahesh Goud, who was picked up by the Bengal Warriors franchise at the Pro Kabaddi League 2018 Auction for a price of 12 Lakhs, as he made his return back to the team. He had featured for the Bengal Warriors in the first three seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League.
After the first three seasons with the Bengal Warriors, Goud was signed by the Patna Pirates franchise in the fourth season. Patna Pirates had been crowned the champions in the third season and Goud joined the side which comprised of stalwarts like Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Bajirao Hodage. Goud ended up on the winning side as the Patna Pirates won their second PKL championship in a row after the heroics of their star man Pardeep Narwal.
Goud then moved on to the debuting franchise UP Yoddha where he was the third raider alongside Rishank Devadiga and Nitin Tomar. He scored a total of 42 points in the entire season as they marched on to the playoffs in their debut season.
#4 Abolfazl Maghsoudloumahali
The lanky Iranian raider made his debut in the Pro Kabaddi League in the third season with U Mumbai franchise but was very sparingly used as he did not manage a single point that year. In the season 4 auction, the 6ft-2in raider was picked up by Patna Pirates as they added strength to their stellar raiding unit.
Abolfazl was a handy raider to deploy off the bench and made most of his opportunities scoring 25 raid points in the nine matches he played for the Pirates. He clocked a healthy 48.64% raiding percentage as he won his first title in the Pro Kabaddi League. The following season saw him move on to the Dabang Delhi KC side joining fellow countryman Meraj Sheykh as Abolfazl was finally used as the lead raider. He managed to score 97 raid points in 19 matches with an average of 4.78 raid points per match. Abolfazl has been picked by the U Mumba franchise this year for a price of 21.25 Lakhs and will play a key role for the Maharashtrian side.
#3 Rajesh Mondal
Over the past five seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League, there has been one raider who has earned the reputation of being a do or die raid specialist and that man is Puneri Paltan's Rajesh Mondal.
Mondal has captured the hearts of Kabaddi enthusiasts with his stellar raiding in pressure situations. He was retained by the Puneri Paltan after his 91-point season last year for the franchise.
In the third and fourth season of the Pro Kabaddi League, Rajesh Mondal was a part of the successful Patna Pirates franchise winning two championships in his tenure. He joined the Pirates in the season 3 after his two-year run with Bengaluru Bulls where he was a consistent performer. Mondal's showing in the third season prompted the Pirates to retain him for the fourth season as he played the perfect partner to the youngster Pardeep Narwal as the Pirates marched on to glory in the league.
This season will Rajesh Mondal join forces with Nitin Tomar as a strong Puneri Paltan side will challenge for the title.
#2 Deepak Narwal
Deepak Narwal had a breakout season last year with the Bengal Warriors as he shone on the mat alongside Maninder Singh as the duo led the franchise all the way to the playoffs after staying atop the zonal standings ahead of eventual champions Patna Pirates. Narwal scored 87 raid points from 16 matches notching up four Super 10s over the season.
Deepak Narwal made his debut in the Pro Kabaddi League in Season 2 with the Patna Pirates and made an immediate impact as he was the leading scorer for the side with 61 points from the 12 matches. Two lukewarm seasons later, he arrived at Bengal Warriors and his performance last season prompted the Pirates to shell out a huge 57 Lakhs to obtain his services. Narwal is back with the Patna Pirates and will pair up alongside Pardeep Narwal as they aim to defend their title this year and win an unprecedented fourth Pro Kabaddi League championship.
#1 Rohit Kumar
One of the best raiders in the Pro Kabaddi League over the years, Rohit Kumar who has become the franchise player for the Bengaluru Bulls started out his PKL journey with the Patna Pirates.
Rohit Kumar made a strong impact in his debut season when he scored 109 raid points for the Patna Pirates as they won the championship for the first time. He was their second leading scorer after Pardeep Narwal and the duo played a huge role in their title win.
Rohit then moved on to the Bengaluru Bulls and has become a key player for the franchise with his thrilling performances scoring 331 raid points in two seasons which included a mind-blowing 32-point performance in the last season.