The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is the biggest kabaddi league in the world right now. The tournament started in 2014 with the aim of taking the sport from mud to mat. In eight years, PKL has become one of the most-watched tournaments in India.
The competition began with eight teams, and after four seasons, the organizers added four new franchises, taking the total to 12. Apart from the local Indian players, the Pro Kabaddi League has helped several foreign players take up kabaddi as a profession.
Teams like Iran and South Korea have shown tremendous improvement at the international level since the inception of the Pro Kabaddi League. Several overseas players have wowed the fans with their skills in PKL. Here's a list of the top 10 foreign players in the tournament's history.
#1 Fazel Atrachali
Fazel Atrachali is the number one overseas defender in Pro Kabaddi. The Iranian left corner has played 125 matches, scoring 368 tackle points.
Atrachali is the only foreign player to have won the Best Defender award in the PKL. He topped the defenders' leaderboard in seasons four and seven.
#2 Abozar Mighani
Another Iranian defender to feature on the list is Abozar Mighani. He is a right corner defender who made his Pro Kabaddi debut in season five for the Gujarat Giants.
Over the last four seasons, Mighani has scored 203 tackle points in 85 matches. He is one of two overseas defenders to have scored more than 200 tackle points.
#3 Hadi Oshtorak
Iranian all-rounder Hadi Oshtorak has represented multiple franchises in his PKL career. He stands 29th on the all-time list of players with the most tackle points in the league.
In 93 matches, Oshtorak has scored 127 tackle points. The Iranian star has also earned 25 raid points.
#4 Mohammadreza Chiyaneh
Patna Pirates all-rounder Mohammadreza Chiyaneh won the Best Defender award in his first season itself in 2021-22. He scored 89 tackle points in 24 games, helping Patna finish as the runners-up.
Courtesy of his consistent showing in PKL 8, Chiyaneh received another PKL contract from Patna this season.
#5 Meraj Sheykh
He played a total of 99 matches for the Telugu Titans and Dabang Delhi KC, scoring 54 tackle points and 350 raid points.
#6 Mohammad Nabibakhsh
Another Iranian all-rounder to appear on the list is Mohammad Nabibakhsh. The former Bengal Warriors player helped the Kolkata-based franchise become champions in season seven.
He moved to Puneri Paltan this season. Overall, Nabibakhsh has scored 181 raid points and 49 tackle points in his career.
#7 Mohsen Maghsoudlou
Iranians have been the most successful foreign players in Pro Kabaddi, which is why the majority of the names on this list are from Iran. All-rounder Mohsen Maghsoudlou is one of the most underrated players in the league.
He has played 59 matches in his PKL career thus far, scoring 88 raid points and 44 tackle points. Mohsen played for U Mumba last season.
#8 Ziaur Rahman
Bangladeshi left cover defender Ziaur Rahman played 34 matches in his Pro Kabaddi League career, earning 32 tackle points. He came into the spotlight in season five when he scored a High 5 for Puneri Paltan against the Patna Pirates.
Apart from Puneri Paltan, Rahman also received contracts from Bengaluru Bulls, Bengal Warriors and U Mumba in his career.
#9 Jang Kun Lee
Korean raider Jang Kun Lee became a popular name in Kolkata because of his top-quality performances for the Bengal Warriors. Lee played 106 matches in his Pro Kabaddi career, scoring 471 raid points.
He is currently the highest point-scorer among foreigners in the league's history. After playing six seasons for Bengal, Lee moved to the Patna Pirates in season seven.
#10 Dong Geon Lee
Another Korean raider to appear on the list is Dong Geon Lee. He played for the Bengaluru Bulls last season and registered a couple of match-winning performances.
Before joining the Bulls, Lee had stints with Tamil Thalaivas, U Mumba and Gujarat Giants. He scored 90 raid points, including one Super 10 in his career.