Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5 : Rahul Chaudhari vs Pardeep Narwal. Who is better? the numbers don't lie.
Whether they play against each other, against other teams, or dont play at all - when you mention Rahul Chaudhari or Pardeep Narwal, it's extremely hard to not begin a comparison. We're now at a stage where we're compelled to assess Pardeep and Rahul against each other. It almost seems impossible to simply analyze one of them in a vacuum. It's an entitlement and a burden that comes with being the two best kabaddi players on the planet.
Since the beginning of Pro Kabaddi League season 3, the both of them have have been subliminally trading punches against each other. Whether they admit to it or not is a whole another ballgame. While Chaudhari firmly cemented himself among the elite from season 1 itself, a relatively younger Narwal found his footing from season 3 on wards.
To put things into perspective - Telugu Titans' star man and captain has notched up an impressive 296 raid points since the beginning of season 3. He's managed to score these points over a period of 37 games. That's an average of 8 points a game. Every single kabaddi coach on this planet would readily accept this average from his player. But it's when you compare it to Pardeep's numbers, things begin to get interesting.
At 36 games, Pardeep Narwal has played almost an identical number of matches. Unbelievably, he's also scored around the same number of points - 298, two more than Chaudhari. As a result, his average point tally per game stands at a marginally better - 8.2. Taking into account their massive yet ever so slightly different point tally, it becomes impossible to arrive at a conclusion.
Add in another variable and there is still no sight of a consensus. In the 36 games that he's been part of since season 3, every time he's gone up to raid, Patna's star man has successfully come back 226 times. Which means, every time Pardeep's raid ends successfully, on an average, he gets his team 1.3 points.
At 241 - Rahul's numerical success in attack stands at a slightly higher number. As a result, every time Chaudhari ends his raid successfully, on an average, he scores 1.25 points. Note - the writer hasn't taken into account the number of failed raid attempts. Once again, Chaudhari and Narwal just cant seem to separate themselves. The numbers dont lie. Five seasons into Pro Kabaddi and we still cant decide who is the better player.
It hasn't stopped players and coaches from voicing their opinion. Ever since the inception of season 5, numerous individuals have chipped in with their opinion on who they reckon is the better player. They maybe subjective and biased opinions but they provide an interesting insight into the thoughts of the kabaddi fraternity on these two supreme athletes.
“The kind of footwork Rahul has, Pardeep can’t match that. Rahul has every single skill, hand touch, kick, flexibility, turning, he has it all. Pardeep only has the dubki. There’s no doubt that Pardeep is a good raider, his dubki is the best and can take out even the best defenders,” the words of Rahul Chaudhari's Telugu teammate, veteran allrounder, Rakesh Kumar.
“Of course I feel Pardeep Narwal is a better player than Rahul because he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He plays in a unique way. Rahul plays with a little pressure while Pardeep uses his mind. He targets the oppositions weakness and attacks in those areas,” Pardeep's Patna Pirates colleague, defender, Vishal Mane explained.
While Pardeep has always shied away from speaking about his rivalry with Rahul, the latter recently provided an interesting comparsion between himself and Pardeep - "If you compare him to me, I am still on top. The defenders in the other teams are very strong. In our team, when I get out, I have to sit out for fifteen minutes! If Pardeep Narwal gets tackled, his defenders bring him back in the very next raid," Chaudhari opined.
There seems to be no end to this fascinating yet difficult debate. Whatever said and done, as viewers we're blessed to witness two of the greatest kabaddi players of our generation, putting on a show, week in week out.