Top 10 Kabaddi Players of All Time
The contact sport of kabaddi might not be one of the most renowned in the world, but it is popular within the Indian Subcontinent and South Asia.
Two teams of seven players battle it out with one offensive player, the “raider”, aiming to tag out as many of the opposition’s defensive players without being tackled and in a single breath. Here’s a quick look at the rules:
Due to more media exposure around the world, the game is growing in stature and popularity.
Here, we take a look at the top 10 players to have ever graced the sport of kabaddi.
1. Anup Kumar (Retired)
What better place to start with our list than the man labelled as the “God of Kabaddi”.
Kumar’s story began from humble beginnings with the former VIVO pro kabaddi league player playing the sport as youngster simply to pass the time.
He is renowned as one of the most prolific raiders that the game has ever seen. He spent 5 years playing for U Mumba before moving on to the Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Undoubtedly, the greatest achievement for Kumar was captaining the Indian national team and winning gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games.
2. Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates)
If you’re going to leave a legacy on the sport of kabaddi then being remembered as the “Dubki King” isn’t too bad.
Narwal currently plays for Patna Pirates in the VIVO pro kabaddi league and is regarded as the best raider in the league.
His achievements include being the first player to hit the 1,000 points mark and winning the gold medal for the India national team at the 2019 South Asian Games.
3. Rahul Chaudhari (Tamil Thalaivas)
Transforming from being a defender and becoming one of the greatest raiders to play in the VIVO pro kabaddi league is a rare and romantic tale. It’s also a true one of Chaudhari.
The Indian national team member is affectionately seen as a showman within the sport due to his flair raids.
His trademark running hand touch has helped him become one of the stars of the sport and became only the second ever player to reach the 1,000 points mark with a career average of a 79.79 percent not out rate.
4. Deepak Niwas Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers)
The story behind Hooda is a tragic one.
Born to a farming family in Chamaria village in the Haryana’s Rohtak district, his mother died when he was just four years old and his father later passed away in 2013.
The current captain of Jaipur Pink Panthers and has developed a reputation for being one of the most clinical all-rounders with more than 940 points earned, 1765 raids, and 231 tackles during his VIVO pro kabaddi league career.
5. Sandeep Narwal (U Mumba)
The story of Narwal’s career is one of adapting and evolving to go from being a corner defender to one of the best all-rounders to play the sport.
His aggressive style of defense is respected across the game and his landmark season 3 saw him become an integral part of the Patna Pirates defense.
The ability to mix his blend of unpredictable pace and agility along with his brute strength has helped him become one of the legends of the game.
6. Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas)
One of the most consistent raiders in the history of the VIVO pro kabaddi league is up next on our list.
Thakur has been involved in the game for a number of years representing the likes of Bengaluru Bulls, Puneri Paltan, and Tamil Thalaivas.
The man dubbed “King of kabaddi” captained the India national team to gold at the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship.
He has earned over 800 points and played in more than 110 matches. Thakur is experience and quality personified.
7. Pawan Sehrawat (Bengaluru Bulls)
It’s not only the experienced players that are included on this prestigious list.
Sehrawat may only be 24 years old but his long reach and strength in his lower body has helped him become one of the best raiders in the VIVO pro kabaddi league already.
He was awarded the MVP award in season 6 and finished as the league’s top scorer in 2018 and 2019. Sehrawat can also boast the record for the most points scored in a single match at 39.
8. Naveen Kumar (Dabang Delhi K.C.)
Another player that is considered part of the younger breed of players to take the game to the next level is Kumar.
The highly rated raider became the first player born in the 21st century to feature in the VIVO pro kabaddi league in season 6.
His trademark running hand touch has enabled him to become the youngest player to score 300 raid points in a single campaign and the second youngest player to reach a Super 10.
The potential ability of this hot prospect is hugely exciting.
9. Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba)
The only non-Indian player to make this list is the “Sultan” Atrachali.
As an Iranian national, Atrachali is breaking the mold in the VIVO pro kabaddi league.
Not only did he play a key role in helping his national team win the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, but he is also regarded as one of the best defender left corners in the game.
Last season he was awarded the Best Defender title with 82 tackle points.
10. Rishank Devadiga (UP Yoddha)
There is no better way to finish a list like this than ending with one of the most aggressive raiders the VIVO pro kabaddi league has ever witnessed.
Devadiga has thrived for both U Mumba and UP Yoddha down the years with his do-or-die approach to the game scoring 671 points across 7 seasons.
He has amounted a total of 1328 raids with 624 total raid points.