The Pro Kabaddi extravaganza will commence on the 28th of June with the fifth instalment set to be the biggest in the history of the tournament. It will feature four new teams in the likes of UP Yoddhas, Tamil Thalaivas, Haryana Steelers and Gujarat Fortune Giants in addition to the existing eight teams. Thus the season will witness almost 140 matches taking place across 10 states of India, for a duration of six months with the final scheduled to take place on the 28th of October.
In this light, let's go back to the basics of kabaddi? How can the defenders stop the incoming raiders in their tracks? How can they inflict tackles and earn points?
In a game of football, for a striker to score a goal he has to go past the numerous hurdles in the form of defenders and ultimately the keeper to put the ball into the back of the net. Similarly, in kabaddi, the raider has to prove his mettle against a host of defenders in the rival half of the mat in order to secure a touch point.
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Who is a defender?
All the players who are on the mat on their side of the court, when a raider from the opposition is raiding are said to be defenders. Some players have special skills as defenders to be able to pin down the raider according to which they take specific positions on the mat.
What are the different positions on the mat for defenders?
When the entire team is on the mat, that is all the 7 players, there are positions for each one of them.
Corners: They occupy the outermost position in the defence on the right and the left and are hence termed as corners.
IN: The first immediate player next to either corner on the left and the right are referred to as the "IN's." In a full defence of seven, the left raider usually takes the Right-In position while the right raider takes the Left-In position.
Covers: They are the wall of the defence and occupy the central position when it comes to defence. Players in this position are usually on the bulkier side and have a lot of brute strength. With 7 players on the mat, there are two covers, right and left.
Centre: This is generally the position occupied the third or do-or-die raider wherein he is relegated to the backline, playing a secondary role in the defence.
What are the different techniques to execute a tackle?
Ankle Hold: The corner defenders usually initiate this tackle wherein they grab the ankle of the raider while he is attempting to sneak in a bonus point.
Thigh Hold: This technique is exhibited by many cover defenders, who strike at the opportune time when the raider is switching his direction and hold his thighs with both hands, thus pinning him down.
Back/Waist Hold: This tackle requires brute strength to be executed, wherein the defenders grab the raider by his waist or back depending on the raiders position and then hauls him mid-air to disturb his balance and thus effectively marring his chance of escape.
Block: Usually when the raider is deep on one side of the court fancying his chances against the corner defenders, he is caught unawares at the back when another defender completely blocks his path with his entire body.
Chain Tackle: This is when two or more defenders coordinate amongst themselves and form a chain to block the raiders path and then execute one of the holds to stop him in his tracks.
Can the defence earn more than one point from pinning down the raider?
This is only possible when there are 3 or less than 3 defenders on the mat and they successfully manage to pin down the raider and thereby execute what is called a "Super Tackle" for which the team earns two points. Otherwise, unlike raiding, the defence just earns a single point for managing to keep the raider down.
Also read: 10 best Pro-kabaddi playersPublished 27 Jul 2017, 11:28 IST