Predicting India's starting 7 for Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023

India have named a star-studded squad for AKC (Image: Instagram)
India have named a star-studded squad for AKC (Image: Instagram)

Defending champions India will kick off their Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023 campaign against South Korea on Tuesday, June 27, in Busan. India will play one match each against the five other participants in the tournament's group stage. The top two teams after the end of the group stage will advance to the final on June 30.

After South Korea, India will play Chinese Taipei, Japan, Iran and Hong Kong in the competition. India have named a star-studded squad featuring top players from the Pro Kabaddi League. Before the Indian team open their campaign, here's a look at their probable playing seven for the first game.


Center - Pawan Sehrawat

Pawan Sehrawat will be the lead raider of the Indian team in Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023. The Tamil Thalaivas star could only play one match in the last Pro Kabaddi League season, where he suffered a brutal injury during a game against the Gujarat Giants.

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Sehrawat has recovered now, and the Hi-Flier will be keen to make the nation proud with his all-round brilliance in AKC 2023.


Left In - Arjun Deshwal

Arjun Deshwal was the number one raider in the previous edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. His consistent performances ensured that the Jaipur Pink Panthers became the PKL winners for the first time since 2014.

Indian kabaddi fans will hope that Deshwal continues his top form in Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023. He will aim to build a streak of Super 10s.


Right In - Naveen Kumar

The third raider in the starting seven should be Naveen Kumar. The Dabang Delhi KC captain has been one of the best raiders over the last three Pro Kabaddi League seasons. He has managed his fitness well and scored points consistently for his team.

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Kumar will look to form an unstoppable raiding trio with Sehrawat and Deshwal. If all three raiders bring their A-game to the table, India will easily walk away with the title.


Right Cover and Left Cover - Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal

Former Gujarat Giants cover duo Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal should take the right and left cover positions respectively in the Indian lineup. The two defenders played a vital role in Gujarat's success before parting ways in PKL 2022/23.

Their individual performance was quite impressive in PKL 2022/23 as Sunil Kumar shone for the Jaipur Pink Panthers and Parvesh Bhainswal was one of the few bright spots for the Telugu Titans. The cover duo should light up Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023 with their defense.


Right Corner and Left Corner - Nitesh Kumar and Vishal Bhardwaj

UP Yoddhas' star Nitesh Kumar will likely play in the corner position with Vishal Bhardwaj as his partner. Kumar and Bhardwaj did not have their best PKL seasons in 2022/23, but both youngsters are enormously talented.

They will have to refrain from committing too many advanced tackles and try to form a solid combination in the defense. It will be interesting to see how the pair of Kumar and Bhardwaj perform in Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023.


India's probable playing 7 for Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023

Pawan Sehrawat, Naveen Kumar, Arjun Deshwal, Parvesh Bhainswal, Sunil Kumar, Nitesh Kumar and Vishal Bhardwaj.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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