Kabaddi is a sport that requires each and every member of a team to be supremely fit, and agile. Yet, some teams just go by the reputation of a player, or past performances and do not take into account their fitness status going into the season, which hampers their chances to win the title.
This year too, a few teams have committed the same error and have not learned from past experiences, that for a team to win, it needs to have seven fully-fit players on the mat. A classic example is the Telugu Titans, whose first line of players are unfit, and they are languishing at the bottom of the points table. So, SportsCafe takes a look at five players bought or retained in the auctions, who make no sense at all.
Ravinder Pahal (Telugu Titans)
Announced the skipper for the Titans at the start of the season, Pahal looks way past his prime. Although he is still among the top-3 most successful defenders of the league but has hardly helped his reputation in the last two seasons. Last year, playing for the Gujarat Giants, he was on the mat for only eight matches and could get only 12 points. This year, injury has plagued him again, and so far he has played only four matches, getting only one point.
Siddharth Desai (Telugu Titans)
The Titans are certainly fixated on the idea of keeping Desai in their team, even if he is not a 100% fit. Last year, owing to a shoulder injury he could only play three matches, while this year his performance has not been up to the mark. In 2021 he had 35 points in 3 games, and in season nine he has 36 in eight games.
Surender Nada ( Bengal Warriors)
It is no rocket science that with age, kabaddi players slow down. And PKL has changed the dynamics of the game; it is much faster, unrelenting, and could be cruel to the older lot. No doubt, Nada is one of the all-time greats, but his move to Bengal Warriors, from Haryana Steelers, is inexplicable. This year in two matches, he has not been able to open his account. Perhaps, he deserves a spot in the coaching staff of some team, and not in the squad itself.
Deepak Hooda (Bengal Warriors)
He was once the India captain, and also the most promising all-rounder in the world. But this year has been nothing short of a disaster for him. Warriors, in a strange move, let go, of Mohammad Nabibaksh and got Hooda instead. In the eight matches he has played, he has managed to score only 18 points.
Rahul Chaudhari (Jaipur Pink Panthers)
Once hailed as the poster boy of Indian kabaddi, Chaudhari is no longer in his prime. Last year he did not get enough match-time with Puneri Paltan, and rightly so. Perhaps, then coach Anup Kumar had figured that the Haryana lad would be a liability on the mat. Disappointed, he openly challenged the decision of the coach, not to play him. But all those statements are coming to haunt him now, as he has just scored 27 points in nine matches for his side. Why would Jaipur go for such a player, is beyond explanation.