Raiders are usually ones that hog the limelight when it comes to kabaddi, with all of their risky skills ranging from running hand and toe touches to frog jumps and dupkis. They are the ones that ensure that the scoreboard keeps ticking in their team’s favour with their tactics.
But on a deeper level, when the team’s raiding department starts to succeed, it leaves a dent on the opposition, crushing their morale in the process. Ahead of the fifth edition of the league, Sportskeeda looks at five teams which possess the strongest attack:
#5 Haryana Steelers
One of the new franchises, it is clear that the Haryana owners have recruited some of the finest raiders. These include the Category A duo of Sonu Narwal and CPO Surjeet Singh who have a combined tally of 239 raid points to their name. If these two players get going, Haryana will be hard to beat for they also have the best defenders in the likes of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar guarding the left and right corners.
Other than that, Haryana have a host of other raiders to entrust with raiding responsibilities, including young guns like Deepak Dahiya and Prashant Rai, who have displayed instances of their talent in previous seasons, alongside the experienced campaigner Wazir Singh.
A wild card may come in the form of Khomsan Thongkam of Thailand, who will be making his debut in the league, but if we are to go by his excellent performance at the World Cup last year in India, Khomsan will surely be a force to reckon with.
#4 Jaipur Pink Panthers
Well, the champions of the first edition have in their squad, the lion-hearted all-rounder Manjeet Chhillar who has amassed more than 200 raid points from just 59 matches. They also have the loyalist Jasvir Singh who has been with the team since their very inception and had a particularly remarkable season 4 wherein he fetched a staggering 13 points on two occasions and averaged 4.57 successful raids per match.
Aside from these senior players, the young stars to watch out for will be Selvamani, who gathered 97 raid points from his 31 matches for Dabang Delhi and Tushar Patil who has also showcased his raiding prowess with his 51 raid points in the PKL.
#3 Puneri Paltan
Leading by example surely seems to be the motto of the team for they have selected their rampant raider, Deepak Hooda to captain the side for the fifth edition of the league. Deepak has 342 raid points in his 57 matches so far and in the last season, he averaged 6.75 successful raids per match.
In a scenario where he fails to fire, the team have a talented line-up to rely on including Sandeep Narwal who has 171 raid points in 62 matches, Rajesh Mondal, 156 raid points in 54 appearances, and the very talented Rohit Kumar Chaudhary who has given glimpses of his ability with 77 raid points from 21 matches.
#2 UP Yoddhas
UP have the most expensive player ever bought in the auctions and it is none other than Nitin Tomar of the Services who announced himself on the kabaddi scene with some great performances in the previous season for Bengal and then Pune, before making it into the World Cup winning Indian team.
His numbers are just a testament to his skills, with 110 raid points from just 22 matches so far. Leading the raiding charge alongside Nitin will be former U Mumba player, Risgank Devadiga who has also proven his mettle time and again, particularly in Season 3 when he emerged as the Best Raider in the league.
Rishank thrives in pressure situations and will surely look to add to his tally of 284 raid points from 59 matches. Assisting this duo will be the likes of Rajesh Narwal who has amassed 266 raid points from his 60 matches, Mahesh Goud with 92 raid points in 34 matches and Surender Singh with 58 raid points from his 25 appearances.
#1 U Mumba
The winners of Season 2, U Mumba have picked up some of the finest raiders for the fifth edition of PKL. Leading the side, Anup Kumar, also known as Captain Cool, will once again look to leave the rival defences hapless with his raiding skills which have seen him gather a total of 377 raid points in his 57 matches.
Returning to his former franchise after a season with Jaipur, Shabeer Bapu, the talismanic player will also be eager to prove his worth and fetch more points to build on his tally of 149 raid points from 42 matches.
A couple of native Maharashtra boys in Kashiling Adake, 380 raid points from 52 matches and Nitin Madane, 152 raid points in 35 matches, will add to the attacking prowess of the team.