"Raiding" into the hearts of kabaddi fans
Anup Kumar, Jasvir Singh and Rahul Chaudhuri – average Indian names that could belong on an office roster. But it is these common men and their ilk that are invading the minds and hearts of the Indian sports fan. The raiders of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi have swept the nation, arousing passions through their evening adventures.
Kabaddi is a unique sport that alternates between attack and defence.
Defence is a team endeavor – players locking hands to try and snatch the raider to scuttle his efforts to touch and go back home. On the other hand, attack is a lone vocation, marching fearlessly into a battery of eager men ready to pounce and pin the raider down to the mat.
No wonder then that a raider like Anup, the MVP of the first season, has acquired star status for his exploits with the U Mumba team. The spirited raids of the diminutive Jasvir – a rustic, balding genius with an acute sense of space and opportunity has become stuff of legend.
The techniques employed by the raiders in pitting themselves against an opponent, in a situation where they are outnumbered many times over is a spectacle in itself. Nimble footwork is a key ingredient in a successful raid – typically, raiders use their arms for balance even as they penetrate the opponent’s area dancing on their toes.
By spreading their feet and crouching slightly, the raider gives the body much-needed flexibility, in case they need to escape the hungry clutches of the defenders. Most raiders have a favoured leg even though it is not uncommon for some to be dexterous on either foot.
Using an outstretched arm or by flinging the leg, the raider seeks to gain a touch before racing back into their own side of the court. The pro league has a tramline, marked in yellow – this zone can only be used, after a first touch has been accomplished by the raider.
Raiders enjoy star status on the team, given their ability to earn multiple points as well as deplete enemy lines. It is no wonder then that they are the most rewarded players on the field and in homes.