Pro Kabaddi League Season 5: 5 players who should have been retained

Mohit was picked up for Rs 53 lakh in season 4
Shraishth Jain

The fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League is all set to get underway in July this year and will be bigger than ever. This edition will feature four additional teams, one of which will be owned by cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar.

It will surpass all sporting leagues in the country, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), as it will cover teams from 11 states and will be over three months long with 130+ matches. All 12 teams will look to build from scratch as players will go under the hammer on Monday.

However, eight of the existing teams have been allowed to retain one player each and there have been some surprising picks. The Jaipur Pink Panthers have chosen not to retain any player and for the other teams, the situation is as such.

U MumbaAnup Kumar
Patna PiratesPardeep Narwal
Puneri PaltanDeepak Hooda
Bengal WarriorsJang Kun Lee
Bengaluru BullsAshish Kumar
Telugu TitansRahul Chaudhuri
Dabang DelhiMeyraj Sheykh

There are many surprising names in the list and there are certainly other players who should have been retained. Let’s take a look at the top five:

#1 Mohit Chhillar

Mohit Chhillar hit the headlines after becoming the most expensive player at the auction prior to Season 4. The right corner defender was picked up for a whopping Rs 53 lakh by the Bengaluru Bulls and was part of the U Mumba side that romped to the title in Season 2.

The Bulls have chosen to retain Ashish Sangwan, which is a little surprising given Chhillar’s experience and pedigree. He was part of the India team that won the inaugural World Cup in Ahmedabad and made the right corner his own.

The side from Bengaluru finished a disappointing sixth last season and it is astonishing to see them part with one of the best defenders in the business.

#2 Manjeet Chhillar

Manjeet has played for Bengaluru and Pune

Ever since the Pro Kabaddi League has began, one of the few players to have stood every season has been Manjeet Chhillar. He is a fantastic all-rounder, with superb raiding skills and can also man the corners in defense. His ankle holds on opposing raiders are second to none.

Also, he is a brilliant leader and is often seen giving instructions to fellow players during the match. He takes charge in crunch situation and more of than not, delivers when his team needs him the most. He will be a huge miss for Puneri Paltan side!

#3 Fazel Atrachali

Fazel was season four’s best defender

The man from Iran has been arguably the best foreign player over the course of the four seasons and is a two-time PKL champion. He lifted the trophy in Season 2 with U Mumba and then was a key part of the Patna Pirates side that won in Season 4.

He also led the Iranian side to a runners-up place in the World Cup, where they came very close to defeating India in the final. His defensive tackles and charges have been extremely effective and while Patna have retained raider Pardeep Narwal, keeping Fazel would have been an equally understandable move.

#4 Rishank Devadiga

Rishank was the best raider for Mumbai last season

One of the finds of the Pro Kabaddi League has been raider Rishank Devadiga, who has improved with every passing campaign. Under the tutelage of veterans Anup Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, he has developed into the complete package in the U Mumba side.

Last season was the worst for the season two champions as they failed to qualify for the semifinals and while retaining Anup Kumar is understandable, they could have chosen to count on their fresh blood and build a youthful side.

Anup has tons of experience under his belt but was quite underwhelming last season. The Mumbai side could have decided to revamp and enter the new season with a fresh approach, led by Rishank, who took over the raiding reins from his seniors towards the end of season four.

#5 Rajesh Narwal

Narwal is known for his fiery temperament

The biggest surprise in the retention list was the absence of the Jaipur Pink Panthers, who finished third in the league stage last year. They were a side with a mix of youth and experience, led by all-rounder Rajesh Narwal.

The 26-year-old was a rock in the Jaipur defense, coordinating the side and leading tackle charges. He is also an accomplished raider, trusted with do-or-die raids, and has amassed a total of 266 raid points over the four seasons.

Edited by Staff Editor


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