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Pro Kabaddi | Seven Iranian players in PKL 8 who are proving their mettle

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A file image of U Mumba skipper Fazel.

(Twitter)

Pro Kabaddi | Seven Iranian players in PKL 8 who are proving their mettle

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SportsCafe Desk

01/05/2022

Iran has always had a major impact on the sport of kabaddi, and the country has produced many great players. Just like the earlier editions of the Pro Kabaddi League, the Iranians are impressing the fans once again, and have managed to create their fan base in a sport dominated by Indians.

Such has been their presence that some of them have actually managed to outshine their Indian counterparts in the current edition of the PKL. All these Iranians playing in the PKL can go on and become a fearsome unit come the Asian Games 2022. SportsCafe takes a look at the seven players from PKL 8, who could be part of the Iran team and challenge India.

Sultan Fazel has been in the league since the second season, and is the skipper of team U Mumba. He played first two seasons for U Mumba and then played for the Patna Pirates in season 4, where he had his best performance -- 52 points in 16 matches. With the Pirates, he developed into one of the best defenders in the league, and with them, he had won the Pro Kabaddi title.

In the next season, he played for Gujarat Giants and scored a total of 57 points, with three super tackles and five high 5s, having an amazing high tackle strike rate of 57.57 in just 24 matches. Come season 7, he secured 82 points and was once again the best defender and led the team to the semi-finals where they lost to Bengal Warriors

Hadi Oshtorak (Gujarat Giants)

Currently, playing with Gujarat Giants primarily as a defender, he has been in the league since the second season! In the first season, he played for the Telugu Titans and had only played 4 matches with not much of an impact. After a few unimpressive seasons, he was signed with U Mumba and had a breakout year when he played 16 matches and earned 20 points along the way. In the next two seasons, he played for the Gujarat Fortunegiants and Patna Pirates and scored his career-high in points for the latter -- 48. 

Abozar Mighani (Bengal Warriors)

He entered the league in season 5 as a much-required defender for Gujarat Fortunegiants. In his debut season itself, he played all the matches for his team and scored a total of 66 points with 63 successful tackles, he had two super tackles to his name and as many high 5s. He played a massive role in helping his team reach the finals in his debut season with clutch tackles in many games. He did go in for a few raids through the season, unfortunately, he didn’t have success in that area. Next season, with the Telugu Titans, he scored 56 points in 21 matches. He had an equally impressive season 7.

Mohammad Esmael Nabibaksh (Bengal Warriors)

The all-rounder made his debut in the PKL during the previous season. He was signed as the costliest foreign player for 77.75 lakhs. His versatile brilliance played a crucial role in the Bengal Warriors lifting the trophy. Maninder Singh, the captain of Bengal Warriors had injured himself due to which he had to take the role of captain. Even after the added pressure in the semi-final and final he lived up to the expectation and helped them reach the top. In season 7, he had a total of 122 points. As an allrounder, he had 75 successful raids to his name. He was even huge on the defensive end with 28 successful tackles, 2 super tackles, and 1 high 5.

Abolfazl Maghsoudlou ( Bengaluru Bulls)

Currently playing with the Bengaluru Bulls, Maghsoudlou played for the first time in the PKL in season 6. Amongst all his other seasons, he has truly outperformed all other members with a 68% raid strike rate for Patna Pirates where he won them the title that season. This was truly their moment of glory. Standing at a height of over six feet, Abolfazl effectively uses his height to steal easy raid points. He has been observed as a deceptively quick player who can immediately extend his long limbs to reach the midline when being tackled to the ground.

Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (Patna Pirates)

In only his first season, he is being hailed as the successor to Fazel Atrachali. He has shown brilliant form in the ongoing PKL season, accumulating 16 tackle points in just five matches. The confidence with which he has played so far is exemplary. He already has a high 5 and two super tackles to his name.

Mohammad Mahalli (Haryana Steelers)

Although the world has not seen much of Mahalli, still he is one of the better raider to come from Iran. In 2019, his debut season, he managed to score 52 points from 20 matches he played. In that too, it must be noted, he did not get enough opportunities to prove his mettle. This year too, he has been more of a substitute player, and has four points from three matches. 

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