Kabaddi is a team sport that has two key facets to the game - Attack and Defence. A team needs to strike an optimum balance between the two in order to outsmart the opposition. Raiders are attacking weapons that kabaddi teams deploy against one or multiple defenders on the mat, and it is no different in the PKL.
Since the PKL started in 2014, a number of raiders have enthralled fans with their skillful moves. Raiders use their physical attributes such as speed, agility and strength in an attempt to outfox defenders. Not surprisingly, raiders have scored the bulk of points during the seven seasons of the PKL.
In this article, we take a look at five signature moves that have been widely used by raiders in the PKL, along with some of the best executors of these moves in the competition.
Five moves widely used by PKL raiders
#1: Running Hand Touch
The running hand touch is the most widely used and effective move employed by raiders in the PKL. It involves a raider running across the length of the mat and stretching their hands to try and get a point by attempting to touch one or more opposition defenders.
The efficacy of this move depends on a raider's speed and reach in order to force defenders to retreat, try to catch them and be able to escape after the touch. The running hand touch is one of the most anticipated moves by defenders in the PKL. Hence, it involves an element of risk since a raider can be blindsided by the defence by moving towards one of the corners.
Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas) is one of the best raiders in the history of the PKL. He has used the running hand touch move effortlessly to dominate PKL defences. Some other players who have been successful with this move in the competition are Deepak Niwas Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Naveen Kumar (Dabang Delhi KC), Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) and Maninder Singh (Bengal Warriors).
One of the raiding manouevres that has risen to prominence and fame in the PKL is the 'Dubki'. It has been popularised by the PKL's top-scoring raider Pardeep Narwal and his continued success with the move.
Dubki is a move where a raider drops low to dodge onrushing defenders who might come in alone or in a chain tackle. The dubki requires an immaculate sense of timing and flexibility for a flawless execution and to escape from opposition defenders.
Patna Pirates' Pardeep Narwal is a famous exponent of this move. Very few defenders in the PKL have had an answer to Narwal's dubki. Some other raiders in the competition who have had success with this move are Dabang Delhi KC's Naveen Kumar and former player and current Haryana Steeelers coach Rakesh Kumar.
#3: Scorpion Kick
One of the most visually exciting raiding moves is the Scorpion Kick that has been used by raiders in the PKL over the years to outfox defenders. A key aspect to succeed with the scorpion kick is the surprise element of the move as it needs to catch defenders unawares.
During the execution of this move, the raider turns to the midline and attacks the corner defender with his trailing leg at a high angle to get a touch before quickly making a move towards the midline. It requires an optimum combination of balance, timing and flexibility to execute the scorpion kick with success against an unsuspecting corner defender.
Jasvir Singh, the former Jaipur Pink Panthers and Tamil Thalaivas raider, popularised this move in the PKL by successfully executing it. Some other raiders who have been successful with the scorpion kick in the PKL are Jang Kun Lee (Patna Pirates), Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) and Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi KC).
#4: Toe Touch
The toe touch is a raiding skill that provides the raider an opportunity to use his legs to catch defenders and score a touch as well as a bonus point. It is effective because most times defenders are on the lookout for hand touches.
During the toe touch move, the raider gets low and slides his leading leg to catch the toes of defenders or to get a bonus point when there are enough defenders on the mat. When used correctly, it can be one of the best surprise moves that can be employed by raiders.
Former India and U Mumba captain Anup Kumar is the player most widely associated with this move. With the toe touch, he terrorised PKL defenders for six seasons of the competition. In recent times, raiders in the PKL who have done well with the toe touch are Maninder Singh (Bengal Warriors), Siddharth Sirish Desai (Telugu Titans) and Kashiling Adake (Dabang Delhi KC).
#5: Frog Jump
One of the most stunning moves that has been deployed by raiders in the PKL over the years is the Frog Jump.
The move involves the raider launching himself at height to escape incoming defenders. They use their hands to escape by propelling themselves off the backs of defenders.
Executing this move requires extreme physical strength along with flexibility to dodge defenders who are coming in with great speed and jump over them to secure a raid point. It is a highly effective move to counter block and chain tackles.
Bengaluru Bulls' Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, with his prowess in executing this move, has gained a lot of plaudits for his frog jumps in recent seasons of the PKL. Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas) and Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) also possess a great frog jump and have deployed it successfully on a number of occasions.