Pro Kabaddi 2022 is just around the corner. In the last few seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League, fans would have noticed that each of the 12 squads featured some youngsters who had never played in the PKL before.
The reason behind it was that Mashal Sports, the organizers of PKL, introduced a new category of players, named the New Young Players (NYP). Through the Future Kabaddi Heroes program, several young talents from across the country sharpened their skills and earned an NYP category contract from the 12 PKL teams.
Players like Nitesh Kumar, Sumit Sangwan, and Sachin Tanwar made a name for themselves by performing well in PKL after receiving an NYP contract. This year as well, a lot of youngsters are a part of Pro Kabaddi 2022's NYP category.
Ahead of the ninth edition of PKL, here's a list of the five NYP players fans should keep their eyes on.
#1 Aman Antil, Bengaluru Bulls
Former champions Bengaluru Bulls retained their young left corner defender Aman Antil ahead of the Pro Kabaddi 2022 Auction. Aman made his PKL debut in Season 8 and formed an excellent combination with the team's right corner Saurabh Nandal.
In 23 matches, Aman scored 54 points for the Bengaluru Bulls. Unsurprisingly, the Bengaluru-based franchise offered him another contract.
#2 Shivansh Thakur, U Mumba
Season 2 champions U Mumba have formed a young squad for Pro Kabaddi 2022. They decided against bidding for big names at the auction and instead invested their funds in young talents.
One of them is Shivansh Thakur, who is a right cover defender. It will be interesting to see how he performs in his debut PKL season.
#3 Pranay Rane, U Mumba
Another U Mumba player to feature on the list is the young raider Pranay Rane. He is yet to play in the Pro Kabaddi League, but has looked impressive in the team's training sessions.
The Mumbai-based franchise needs a bright player like Pranay to form a partnership with the team's main raider, Guman Singh.
#4 Jatin Singh Phogat, Tamil Thalaivas
Tamil Thalaivas have signed the league's top raider Pawan Kumar Sehrawat for Pro Kabaddi 2022. However, the other raiders of the team are not very experienced. The Chennai-based franchise will need a new name to support Pawan.
If Pawan Sehrawat gets tackled down, he needs someone to revive him. That player could be the team's new star, Jatin Singh Phogat. He is yet to play in the PKL, but came into the limelight after winning the Kabaddi Ka Kamaal Player Award in the Yuva Kabaddi Series 2022.
#5 Ankush Rathee, Jaipur Pink Panthers
Jaipur Pink Panthers have revamped their defense ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2022. They retained their right corner Sahul Kumar and replaced the rest of the defense. The Jaipur-based franchise roped in cover defenders Sunil Kumar and Reza M at the auction.
They also a signed a left corner defender from the NYP category, named Ankush Rathee. He performed well in the Yuva Kabaddi Series 2022, and it will be exciting to see if he can translate this success to PKL as well.