PKL (Pro Kabaddi League) was conceptualised by Mashal Sports and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) to create a platform for talented kabbadi players to showcase their prowess on a national stage. Since the start of the PKL in 2014, we have witnessed seven enthralling seasons of the competition as the top kabaddi players of the nation and beyond have competed for glory on the mat.
During the seven seasons of the PKL, a lot of stars have emerged courtesy their exploits on the mat. In this article, we take a look at the players who have been adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for their performance in every PKL season till date.
MVPs in all seven PKL Seasons
# PKL Season 1: Anup Kumar (Raider) - U Mumba
The inaugural season of the PKL saw the rise of Anup Kumar as the stellar raider and captain that we know of today. His acumen on the mat and ability to outfox defenders with his toe touch is second to none in the pro kabaddi circuit.
Anup Kumar led a stacked U Mumba lineup to the PKL Season 1 final with his prolific raiding exploits on the mat. He garnered a tally of 155 raids, the highest for any player in Season 1 of the competition, garnering 10 Super 10s to his credit as well. He gained the nickname 'Captain Cool' for his ability to maintain his composure in tough situations and come out on top most of the times.
Despite their run to the final, U Mumba lost to Jaipur Pink Panthers in the PKL Season 1 title clash. However, Anup Kumar was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his incredible performance in the competition.
# PKL Season 2: Manjeet Chhillar (All-rounder) - Bengaluru Bulls
Manjeet Chhillar has been widely regarded as the best defender ever in the history of the PKL. Chillar first made his name in the initial seasons of the PKL by leading the charge for the Bengaluru Bulls in Season 2 of the competition.
Chhillar was the joint-leading defender of PKL Season 1 with 51 tackle points but his team lost in the semifinals after making the playoffs. He continued his fine form in PKL Season 2 as the Bulls continued to perform well on the mat.
Chhillar was at his peak as an All-rounder for his PKL franchise, operating as the supporting raider to Ajay Thakur. He ended up with a tally of 107 points - 40 tackle points and 67 raid points - as the Bulls faced U Mumba in the PKL Season 2 final. Although the Bulls lost to a star-studded U Mumba lineup, Manjeet Chillar scored 11 points to keep his side in the match.
For the second PKL season running, a player on the losing side in the final was awarded the MVP.
# PKL Season 3 - Rohit Kumar (Raider) - Patna Pirates
Rohit Kumar made his debut for the Patna Pirates in PKL Season 3 and took no time in establishing himself as one of the key players alongside Pardeep Narwal in the Pirates' raiding unit.
Kumar's extremely agile footwork and movement along the length of the mat makes life difficult for opposition defenders. In 12 PKL matches, he racked up a healthy tally of 102 raid points, the third highest tally in the competition that season.
In the PKL Season 3 final clash against U Mumba, Rohit Kumar was the top-scoring raider (8 points) on the mat for Patna Pirates as the U Mumba defence kept Pardeep Narwal quiet.
Kumar averaged 8.5 raid points per match and was rightfully adjudged the MVP for his productive season for the Pirates. His incredible performance proved to be frutiful for him in the next PKL season as the Bengaluru Bulls shelled out Rs 81 Lakhs for his services.
# PKL Season 4: Pardeep Narwal (Raider) - Patna Pirates
Pardeep Narwal had announced himself on the PKL stage in Season 3 after topping the raid points chart in a triumphant season for the Patna Pirates as they won their first title in the competition.
He picked up right where he left off and had another successful season for the Pirates in PKL Season 4, garnering a tally of 131 raid points, the second highest in the competition that season behind Rahul Chaudhari. Narwal made sure that the Pirates did not miss Rohit Kumar who had joined the Bengaluru Bulls.
Narwal's 'Dubki' was a skill that terrorised PKL defences as he racked up five Super 10s and inflicted three Super Raids in 16 matches to marshall his side to the final.
In the title clash, Pardeep Narwal rose to the fore and delivered a 16-point performance against Jaipur Pink Panthers to help the Patna Pirates successfully defend their PKL title. He was awarded the MVP award as a Patna Pirate player won the coveted award for a second consecutive season in the PKL.
# PKL Season 5: Pardeep Narwal (Raider) - Patna Pirates
Pardeep Narwal continued his meteroric rise to stardom in the PKL for the third consecutive season as he delivered a record-breaking performance in Season 5 of the competition.
Patna Pirates's talisman was in fine form in the new format of the PKL as he dominated opposition defences with his deft moves on the mat. In 26 matches, he scored a whopping 369 raid points, which is a record for most points in a PKL season. Narwal had 19 Super 10s along with 18 Super Raids as he averaged a mammoth 14.19 raid points per match in the PKL Season 5.
His crowning moment was the 8-point raid against the Haryana Steelers where he outclassed six defenders on his way to a record 34-point haul in the match. He led the Pirates to an unprecedented third PKL title in as many seasons following a win over Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final.
Narwal, in the process, also became the first player to win consecutive MVP awards in the PKL, which was just reward after a stellar season.
# PKL Season 6: Pawan Sehrawat (Raider) - Bengaluru Bulls
After the tremendous run of Patna Pirates claiming three PKL titles in a row, the stage was set for another star to emerge. Pawan Sehrawat was the man who rose to the forefront, capturing the limelight with his stunning performances on the mat for Bengaluru Bulls in PKL Season 6.
Pawan Sehrawat, along with skipper Rohit Kumar, tore through PKL defences with his high-speed style of raiding. He used his reach, coupled with speed and lower body strength, to score points with regularity, racking up a rich tally of raid points. At the end of PKL Season 6, Sehrawat had a total of 271 raid points in 24 matches.
Sehrawat's top moment was his incredible performance in the PKL Season 6 final when his second half onslaught saw the Bulls mount a comeback to clinch the title against Gujarat Fortunegiants.
# PKL Season 7: Naveen Kumar (Raider) - Dabang Delhi KC
Naveen Kumar made his PKL debut for Dabang Delhi KC side in Season 6 and finished as their top-scoring player with 177 points, leading them to the playoffs. He continued his stellar run in PKL Season 7 as well.
Naveen Kumar's pace and ability to score a running-hand touch with a consistent success rate made him a deadly proposition for opponents to handle. He proved his MVP-worthiness by becoming the first player in PKL history to score 22 Super 10s in a season, embarking on a run of 21 consecutive Super 10s, which was unheard of in the competition before.
Kumar's fantastic run meant that Dabang Delhi KC went deep into the playoffs and clashed against Bengal Warriors in the final. However, he was unfortunate to end up on the losing side despite a heroic 18-point performance against the Warriors.
For his incredible season, Naveen Kumar was adjudged the Most Valuable Player in PKL Season 7, becoming the third player to win the award despite his team losing in the final.