The Pro Kabaddi League has changed the lives of many kabaddi players in the world. The tournament has given a platform to the kabaddi stars to showcase their talent. It has transformed the game from mud to mat. Like the IPL, the PKL has helped in taking the craze of the sport to the next level in India. Currently, Pro Kabaddi League is one of the most-watched tournaments in India.
Initially, there were eight teams in the Pro Kabaddi League. But as the years passed, the organizers decided to expand the tournament and included four new teams. Teams from UP, Gujarat, Chennai, and Haryana joined the league. The organizers also formed two groups in the league stage. Defense plays a vital role in the success of any kabaddi team. Scoring five or more tackle points is called a High 5 in the Pro Kabaddi League. Here are the top five defenders with the most High 5s in PKL history.
(Stats source – Pro Kabaddi League official website)
5. Surender Nada – 19 High 5s
Surender Nada is one of the best defenders in Pro Kabaddi League history. He started his career with the U Mumba franchise. Later, he moved to the Bengaluru Bulls. In season five, Surender joined the Haryana Steelers. In all, he played 71 PKL matches.
In those 71 games, Nada returned with 19 High 5s. It was a common sight to see with the orange arm-band on the corner. In PKL, the player with the most tackle points has the orange arm-band. Thus, Nada tormented the raiders with his tackling skills. His ankle hold was one of his strongest moves in the defense.
4. Pro Kabaddi League’s most successful foreign defender, Fazel Atrachali -21
Fazel Atrachali has been the best overseas defender in PKL history. The Iranian player has made the opposition raiders’ lives difficult with his tackling abilities. Fazel is a beast who plays for U Mumba. He has even been a part of the Patna Pirates. In season five, Fazel played for the Gujarat Fortunegiants.
Currently, Fazel is the captain of the U Mumba team. Under his captaincy, the team reached the playoffs in season seven. Atrachali is a left-corner defender. Just like Surender Nada, Atrachali’s strong point is the ankle hold. Also, he has a very strong back hold. He has scored 21 High 5s in his Pro Kabaddi League career.
3. Ravinder Pahal – 23
Ravinder Pahal is an aggressive Indian defender. He generally plays at the right corner position. Pahal was an important part of the Dabang Delhi K.C. in season seven. Delhi qualified for their first PKL final in 2019. Pahal played a vital role in their success, with a solid defensive combo also including Joginder Narwal.
Ravinder Pahal has also been a top contender for the orange arm-band. Confidence has been very crucial for him. If he gets points in the first phase of the match, he is unstoppable till the end. But if he struggles early, the chances he scores a High 5 is low. In 112 Pro Kabaddi League matches, Ravinder has recorded 23 High 5s.
2. Manjeet Chhillar – 23
Manjeet Chhillar is the only all-rounder to appear on this list. Manjeet is one of the rare players who can raid and defend equally well. He can play at any position in the defense. Majorly, he has played at the cover position in the Pro Kabaddi League. So far, Manjeet has played 108 PKL matches.
Chhillar started his career as Bengaluru Bulls captain. Then, he moved to Puneri Paltan before becoming a part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers. Recently, the Tamil Thalaivas had signed him. Manjeet did not have a memorable season with the Thalaivas. Still, he stands at number two on this list with 23 High 5s.
1. PO Surjeet Singh – 27
Puneri Paltan’s right cover defender PO Surjeet Singh is the only defender to have more than 25 High 5s in the Pro Kabaddi League. Surjeet has played for Bengal Warriors, U Mumba, and Puneri Paltan. He played for Pune in season seven. His position in the defense is right cover. Sometimes, if needed, he can also play at the corner position.
Surjeet has played only 94 PKL games. Still, he has registered 27 High 5s. His physical strength is one of the key reasons behind his success. Surjeet has the chance to become the first defender to reach the 30 High 5s milestone. It will be interesting to see when does he accomplishe this feat.