Pro Kabaddi 2019 Top 5 Raiders : Their sides might have failed to show their mettle in PKL 7 but the five raiders kept waging a lone battle for their outfits
Where the discourse is all about the semi-finals and final of Pro Kabaddi League 7 as all important matches await, the sides who failed to make it this far have all but been forgotten. And befittingly as well with some of the sides outside of the final four putting in harrowing and besmirched displays across their stay in the dramatic land of the league, ones which far from warranted a place in this round of the league.
However, despite their chastening showings, some of these eight teams came bestowed with worldclass raiders, players who spared no expense in waging a lone battle for their side and trying to single-handidly carry them into the top 6. These were myriad names and star performers whose performance didn’t dwindle in the slightest despite getting next to negligible assistance from their side, 5 players who deserved to find themselves partaking in the semi-finals for the tenacity they displayed.
Pardeep Narwal, Patna Pirates: 302 Raid Points
When you have endured a season where you ended up becoming the first ever raider to breach the symbolic milestone of 1,000 raid points across the life of the marquee league, you more than deserve to be vying it out for the prestigious title. Pardeep Narwal did everything plausible by him, thwarting defenders as well with his dubkis and firkis being too sublime to curb, seeing the raider clamp down on oppositions with consummate ease.
Had it not been for his displays, Patna Pirates would have ended up finding themselves slumped in the trenches of the points tally with the raider registering a mammoth 15 super 10s, a figure which epitomised how pivotal he was to the side this season.
Vikash Khandola, Haryana Steelers: 190 Raid Points
The mainstay of his side across both the facets, Vikash Khandola was the man responsible for his side’s resurgence and rejuvenation in Pro Kabaddi League 7. From transforming the side into a tepid, bleak and meek side into a worldclass outfit, the raider stamped his authority all over the league with succulent displays, performances which took his side all the way into the eliminators.
His importance can be gauged from the fact that Haryana Steelers were languishing in the pits of the points tally before Khandola recovered from an injury to come into the side. Out of the 13 wins they managed to sting up in the league, 9 came when the raider had gotten 9 or more points, numbers testament to his importance for the side.
Srikhhant Jadhav, U.P. Yoddha: 148 Raid Points
From a side which had won just 2 out of its first 11 matches to becoming an outfit to register just 2 defeats in its next 11 matches, U.P. Yoddha scripted the most tenacious comeback of the season for the second year on the bounce. And it largely transpired due to the tranquil displays of their raiders with Srikhhant Jadhav taking over centrestage to act as the guiding player for the side.
What was especially impressive about the raider was his ability to perform in the first half as well, putting in piquant displays at a time when he was completely devoid of any kind of assistance. Under his tutelage, playing like Surinder Gill, Rishank and Monu Goyat managed to tune out their game come the second half, seeing the side posses perhaps the most well rounded and heavy raiding unit at the end of the league stage encounters.
Deepak Niwas Hooda, Jaipur Pink Panthers: 146 Raid Points
He might not find himself in the annuls of point scorers when it comes to raiders but the all-rounder’s job at the beginning of the season was never to act as the primary raider for his side. However with the entire raiding setup collapsing in unison for the side to leave them in distress, Deepak Niwas Hooda was quick to take over the onus of delivering incisive displays for the side to ensure they managed to keep chasing a spot in the top 6 till the dying stages.
Pankaj Mohite, Puneri Paltan: 110 Raid Points
He has the least raid points out of all the players in our pile but Pankaj Mohite was a testament to Pro Kabaddi League’s program to unearth players across India and give them a massive platform to come and succeed in. This was a breakthrough season for the player, one where he managed to make a massive headway with his raiding displays as he transformed from a player from the grassroots level to a star performer for his side.
His 110 points were worth every bit in value with the raider getting those numbers in a side which was slumped in 10th place. His toe touches, running hand touches, kicks and jumps saw him ease his way out of tricky situations, ending up pulling off successful raids with relative ease.