PKL | Top five players to emerge this season
Every Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 9) season unearths a new group of talented young guys who give you confidence that the sport's future is secure. This year too, a few players have already managed to make a mark for themselves, while a few others are just starting to shine and impress.
A little over halfway through the PKL 9, SportsCafe looks at five young players who have impressed this season –
Narender Kandola (Tamil Thalaivas)
Kandola has emerged as this year's top raider for Tamil Thaliavas. In Pawan Kumar Sehrawat's absence, the raiding tasks have been seamlessly assumed. He is the season's fifth-best raider with 169 raid points in 16 games. Till now, he has consistently delivered, regardless of the competition or the nature of the game. His 10.5 raid points per game average has helped Tamil Thalaivas maintain their playoff position.
Akash Shinde (Puneri Paltan)
Out of the usual raiders in the team, like Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat, Shinde has managed to create an image of his own. After Inamdar's injury, he stepped up and shone with a few game-winning efforts. So much so that he has taken Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibabkhsh's position in the starting lineup already. His presence in the team only means that Paltan has enough options in the raiding department, and Shinde can very well take up the duties, in case one of the other raiders is having a bad day.
Rohit Tomar (UP Yoddhas)
He is doing the same job for UP, that Shinde has been doing for Paltan. With Surender Gill and Pardeep Narwal around, he can take up the raiding duties. In addition, he is an equally good defender as well, which makes him a hard-to-ignore player. With quite a few matches left in the season, we are likely to see the best of the youngster.
Ankush ( Jaipur Pink Panthers)
He has emerged as the left-hand pillar of the Jaipur Pink Panthers this year. This season, he has strengthened the Panthers' defence and, using his patented ankle holds, has got the better of the finest raiders. He continues to be the Panthers' greatest defender in PKL 9 and was once the League's best defender. He has more impressive numbers than the team's captain Sunil Kumar, who is ranked #14 in PKL history for tackle points.
Parteek Dahiya (Gujarat Giants)
He is the second-best raider and the season's biggest find for the Gujarat Giants. He stepped up for the team when the more experienced raiders fell short. In Ram Meher Singh's defensively focused squads, he's been a breath of new air and a solid backup option. He is rated as an all-rounder because of his strong upper body, tremendous reach, and exceptional footwork.