The kabaddi mania is spreading day by day and the fans can hardly wait for the third season of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi to kick off. The league has a brand new benchmark with the help of new teams and new players along with brand new venues and an even better amount of viewership. And this is not it, the popularity of the sport, as well as the league, has spread to countries like Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Europe. In the year 2016, India finally lifted the Kabaddi World Cup at Ahmedabad in the presence of a dynamite audience. Twelve teams participate from all over the world. This alone showed that the sport of kabaddi was not limited to the rural parts of the country. Instead, the sport had taken flight and had landed in overseas countries as well. The cherry on the top was India winning the world cup and showing that unlike other countries who can’t master the sport they invented, India dominated their own sport and will continue doing it for the foreseeable future. Not only did team India win fans in their homeland, but they also won hearts all around the world by putting up a fantastic display of excellence.
When talking of overseas fans, we just have to mention Kieron and Sam. The duo belongs to Ireland and the reason that they are being mentioned here is they traveled across countries and entire oceans just to grab a glimpse of their favorite kabaddi athletes. Other similar fans are Mace from Wales, and John hailing from England. In their own words, the plan sort of just kicked off. It is was spontaneous. The bunch just decided to watch the support of kabaddi up front and view it in person instead of on the television.
The sixth season of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League is about to start and we cannot wait for star athletes to show us their skills on the kabaddi court. However, the Indian team’s performance in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta was a disappointing one. The team did show great skill and potential but eventually lost to the Iranian international team. But that is not the end. With the advent of the sixth season of Pro Kabaddi, there is hope that our players will regain their lost mojo and strike back with a bang. We will be discussing the top six things on the agenda today.
With a price tag of INR 12.8 lakhs, Rakesh Kumar was the most valuable player of the very first season of the Pro Kabaddi League. However, this season, it is Monu Goyat who is in the center of people’s attention. Monu, formerly playing as Raider for the Patna Pirates, will now continue his duties for Haryana Steelers. This season, he has been priced at INR 1.51 crores. The young raider merely started his career two seasons ago with the Patna Pirates as a raider and since has been able to get 250 raid points in a total of 39 matches. The raise is immense and the pressure is real. The task for Monu Goyat is to prove his mettle in Haryana Steelers and prove his worth to the team. Being picked by a franchise for such a huge amount of money is a different thing and proving that it was worth it is a different one. We will have to wait and watch if Monu could do that.
The Patna Pirates had a blast in the last season by winning it. They are defending champions of the Pro Kabaddi League. Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat were the raiding duo who were the protagonists of the win. The pair scored a collective 1197 raid points that led to the final victory of the Pirates in the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League. Not only this, but it was the third title for the Pirates in a row. However, things have changed now somewhat. With Goyat now in Haryana Steelers, the chances of the Pirates continuing their winning ways have become less. In such a situation, the team needs a player who can continue the work started by Goyat and team up with Narwal to give the opposition a tough match. In the words of the franchise owners, Pardeep is in a grave need of a partner in crime who can put up with the pressure and display an equal amount of skill. This will be crucial for the results in the sixth season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Anup Kumar, the former captain of the Indian international kabaddi team has the coolest mind in kabaddi. Anup spent the last five seasons with Mumbai and now for the sixth season, he finally chose to switch and joined Jaipur. The Jaipur Pink Panthers picked Anup Kumar for a good reason. Anup, as a captain, led the Indian team to victory in its campaigns in 2010 as well as 2014. As a player, Anup has crazy skills on the mat. In a total of 78 professional kabaddi games, he has managed to procure 489 raid points along with 57 tackle points. In the words of the franchise owners, Kumar is at such a position in his career that his skill of controlling the pace of the match is much more crucial than his individual performance in the match. The team needs him to play at his highest level and lead the team from the front. The Panthers are relying heavily on Anup for his leadership skills and his ability to control the pace of the game.
The Pink Panthers are suddenly contenders of the Pro Kabaddi League for the sixth season with Anup in the squad. The team’s defense is stronger than ever with Mohit Chillar and Bajirao Hodage in line. This combined with the firepower provided by the all-rounders Nitin Rawal and Deepak Hooda, the team is sure to show some fireworks in the sixth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The Jaipur coach is relying on Anup to change the winds in Pink Panther’s favor like it was back in the first season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
The Women’s Kabaddi Challenge was a big hit. It was launched in the year 2016 and it was more of a pilot season. However, the response was really unexpected. The season was amazingly interesting and for the first time, female kabaddi athletes were able to play kabaddi on a professional platform. In the very words of Bhawana Yadav, a member of the Storm Queens team in the first season of Women’s Kabaddi challenge, the platform that was provided to women in Women’s Kabaddi Challenge the first of its type. And she cannot wait for the second season to start off. The female version of the sport has a completely different angle to it. You cannot expect the same level of strength, speed, and endurance as there is the men’s division. However, what you can find is a different way of playing the sport, that is, different ways to defense, attack, and tackling. The skill set is different and so is the methodology.
Whether the second season of the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge will take place or note is still a mystery.
Iran was just pure perfection in the Asian Games 2018. The men’s team of Iran was the one that beat team India in the semi-finals of kabaddi. And to top it off, the win was pretty comprehensive. On the other hand, the women’s team beat the Indian team in the finals. Players like Fazel Atrachali were among the players who made a real difference in the country’s first victory at the Asian Games in Kabaddi. Also, Fazel Atrachali was the highest valued overseas player in the 2018 Pro Kabaddi League. The sixth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League will definitely be fun as the league will be filled with gold medalist from the 2018 Asian Games.
When it comes to being a sport, kabaddi has it all. It has the adrenaline, it has the nervousness, and it has the competitiveness that is much required in an action-packed sport like kabaddi. The real question is that whether the sport has it in it to continue this firework for the foreseeable future. It has 6 seasons now in a total of 4 years. That is without a doubt a remarkable figure. And it also speaks volumes. As compared to other sporting leagues, like the ISL and the IPL, the Pro Kabaddi League is way faster paced and way more adrenaline induced. It is also officially the biggest sporting league in the country with a total of 12 official teams. The event is well covered by sports channels and has got enough media coverage. The league itself is broadcasted live and has a good enough fan following. With the sporting leagues in the west like the EPL and the LA Liga which are going on for the last 100 years or so, the leagues in India like the Pro Kabaddi league are relatively new and have to prove their sustainability with time. However, there is no doubt that Pro Kabaddi will reach new heights every year and will indeed establish itself as a prominent sporting league.
The scope for the sport to grow is definitely there. The extent to which it can grow will be determined by the ability of the athletes and the franchises to keep the people entertained.
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