The Pro Kabaddi League has popularized the sport of kabaddi by leaps and bounds, providing a platform for talented national and international kabaddi players to showcase their talent on a grand stage. Ever since its inception in 2014, we have witnessed seven thrilling seasons of the league with top kabaddi players within India and beyond showcasing their skills for glory.
Players from various parts of the world have graced this tournament over the past seven seasons of PKL. The top foreign players from different nations are available in the players' auction and get allotted into multiple teams to get an opportunity to represent their country with pride and play in the prestigious competition.
It is a hectic task to come up with a team that consists of current players from various countries, as only a few of them are known to give proper exposure to the sport of kabaddi. Taking that into consideration, we present you the best playing seven of the PKL constructed by selecting one representative from each country.
Note: Countries considered are India, Iran, South Korea, Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
Right Corner: Wasim Sajjad (Pakistan)
A 15-year veteran, the Pakistan-born Wasim Sajjad played in the first two seasons of the PKL for the Patna Pirates led by Rakesh Kumar. He had a sensational outing as a permanent right corner for the side, pairing with Girish Ernak in the corner defense. Sajjad played a vital role with his rock-solid body blocks which helped the Patna Pirates enter the semi-finals in the first two seasons.
Sajjad made his international debut in the 2005 Asian Kabaddi Championship and represented Pakistan in four editions of the Asian Games (2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018). He was also a part of the bronze medal-winning Pakistan team in the 2018 Kabaddi Masters tournament held in Dubai.
A perfectionist in body blocks and dashes, Wasim Sajjad's immense experience proves to be an ideal foil for him to feature in the team.
Right In: Victor Obiero (Kenya)
Victor Obiero burst into the scene in the 2018 Kabaddi Masters tournament when he scored 20 total points as the top all-rounder of the competition. He got picked by Tamil Thalaivas for Season 6 and was retained by the franchise in the next season as well because of his impressive performance.
Although Obiero got few opportunities during his stint with the Ajay Thakur-led Thalaivas, he managed to make full use of the chances that he gained. He grabbed the limelight and scored in clinical situations with 18 total points to his name. Obiero was also the captain of the Kenya junior kabaddi team that finished as runners-up in the 2019 Junior World Kabaddi Championship.
A young prodigy in the making, Victor Obiero could be a perfect fit in the do-or-die situations and can contribute to the team's crucial tackles.
Right Cover: Ranidu Chamara (Sri Lanka)
The Sri Lankan captain Ranidu Chamara, who led his nation to the silver medal in the Kabaddi event of South Asian Games recently, represented UP Yoddha in the sixth edition of the PKL. Although he didn't get the opportunity to display his talent in the PKL, Chamara's ability to contribute as a right cover could come in handy for this team.
Ranidu Chamara also played for Sri Lanka in the 2018 Asian Games. He is a defensive all-rounder who can execute dashes and thigh holds efficiently. Along with that, he has gained immense experience practicing alongside star defenders in Nitesh Kumar and Jeeva Kumar in his team.
To provide a perfect balance in the side, Chamara seems to be a handy pick for the right cover position.
Center: Pawan Sehrawat (India)
Pawan Sehrawat has emerged as a sensational performer over the past couple of seasons in the PKL. He has carried the offense for Bengaluru Bulls single-handedly, scoring 617 raid points in Season 6 and 7 combined at an average of 12.85 raid points per game. He has put up a scintillating show every time he steps on the mat as he had a vital role to play in the Bulls' title-winning campaign in Season 6.
Pawan Sehrawat knows how to demolish the opposition with all the raiding skills in his arsenal. He is endowed with skills like running hand touches, dubkis, jumps, escapes, and kicks to the level of some of the finest kabaddi players to have stepped foot on the mat. Based on such a spectacular form, he got selected as the vice-captain of the Indian kabaddi team that won gold at South Asian Games 2019.
There is no stopping Pawan Sehrawat once he goes full gear on the mat, and thus is likely to take the raiding department as the lead raider of this team.
Left Cover: Ziaur Rahman (Bangladesh)
Ziaur Rahman got into the scene in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, when the left cover scored 12 tackle points for Bangladesh in the competition. Courtesy of his decent display of body blocks and dashes, he got picked by Puneri Paltan in the fifth season of PKL. He made a statement there as well, attaining 20 tackle points that included a High-5. He also formed a decent cover duo with Surjeet Singh in his next stint with Bengal Warriors.
Kabaddi is the national sport in Bangladesh as the nation has a decent haul in South Asian Games and Asian Games history. The Bangladeshi defense is considered brutal as a lot of defenders are known to have adequate skills on the mat. Rahman, being a veteran over the years, is one of the decorated players of Bangladesh who has graced the cash-rich tournament.
His ability to provide support to the corner defenders paves his path to join this elite team of international stars.
Left In: Jang Kun Lee (South Korea)
South Korea's Jang Kun Lee is the only overseas raider in PKL to notch up more than 450 raid points in history. He has exhibited skills that relate to mixed martial arts as Lee is known best for his scorpion kick. He played for the Bengal Warriors in the first six seasons of the league as a valuable asset to the side. Lee raided with the likes of Pardeep Narwal in the recently-concluded seventh season of the competition.
Over the years, Jang Kun Lee played a defining role for South Korea in defeating the unbeatable Indian team on occasions like the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and 2018 Asian Games. The kick specialist also led the Korean team as the captain to win the 2019 Taiwan International men's friendly competition and World Martial Arts Masterships. He was the top raider of Kabaddi Masters 2018, with 40 raid points to his name.
Lee is one of the few talented raiders when it comes to the PKL. And with Pawan Sehrawat in tow, this raiding pair can wreak havoc on any defense on any given day.
Left Corner: Fazel Atrachali (Iran)
The Iranian Fazel Atrachali is the most successful foreign defender in PKL history, being the only left corner to join the 300-tackle-point club. Known as the Sultan, Fazel is the only player in PKL history to get the Best Defender award twice (Season 4 and 7). Best known for his composed captaincy and aggressive defending, his waist pulls along with ankle holds are a treat to watch for kabaddi fans.
Fazel has been one of the most decorated players in both PKL and international tournaments. He has been a part of the PKL-winning teams twice with U Mumba (Season 2) and Patna Pirates (Season 4). Fazel was also the captain of the history-making Iranian side that won their maiden gold in the 2018 Asian Games.
Arguably the most lethal defender at present, Fazel Atrachali will also lead this elite team of star players from all over the world as the captain. There is no doubt regarding his defensive approach as no raider can score easy points when Fazel guards the left corner position.
PKL's best kabaddi team with one player from each country: Fazel Atrachali (C), Wasim Sajjad, Ranidu Chamara, Ziaur Rahman, Pawan Sehrawat, Victor Obiero, and Jang Kun Lee.Published 03 Nov 2020, 23:35 IST