Pro Kabaddi League

In 2014, when a kabaddi league was introduced in India, it sent every kabaddi fan out there in a frenzy. While the critics were skeptical about the acceptance of the league among the masses, many were doubtful over the league’s survival against the likes of IPL and ISL. However, the Pro Kabaddi League proved a huge success and emerged as the most followed league in India after the Indian Premier League.

The fast-paced game of kabaddi and shorter time format proved to be the most significant reasons behind the astounding success of the league. The game of kabaddi provided the fans and viewer the thrill and adrenaline rush which boosted the popularity of the league exponentially.

Kabaddi is primarily considered as a rural game and is played in rural parts of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab, and Bihar. With Pro Kabaddi League – Season 7 starting from July 20th, 2019, Kabaddi lovers around the globe are excited for the 90 days of Euphoria.

Let us take you on the ride through the history of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League since it raided the Kabaddi fans in 2014.

Introduction:

In 2014, Mashal Sports Pvt. Ltd came up with a groundbreaking initiative and introduced the Pro Kabaddi League to the World. Impressed by the response the league got, Star India Pvt. Ltd. jumped in and took a 74% stake in Mashal Sports and thus, the league.

  • Since then, Pro Kabaddi League has revolutionized the sport in an unprecedented manner with stunning innovations. The league has gained massive popularity and ever-increasing fan following over the past seasons.
  • Since its inception, Pro Kabaddi League has grown leaps and bound gaining the popularity on the global level. Moreover, the game has not only made its way to the heart of numerous sports lovers in the nation, but many kabaddi players have now become the household names.
  • Pro Kabaddi League has the backing from the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), and support from the participating members of the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) and the Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF).

The League began with the participation of 8 city-based franchises, but later 4 new franchises were introduced in the fifth season of the league. Now, a total of 12 teams compete for the coveted Pro Kabaddi League title:

1) U Mumba
2) Bengaluru Bulls
3) Telugu Titans
4) Jaipur Pink Panthers
5) Bengal Warriors
6) Tamil Thalaivas
7) Gujarat Fortune Giants
8) Haryana Steelers
9) UP Yoddha
10) Dabang Delhi KC
11) Patna Pirates
12) Puneri Paltan

The addition of the new franchises made VIVO Pro Kabaddi India’s most prominent sports league in terms of numbers of team participating and geographical representation. The addition of the new teams to the league made the competition more intense than ever before and the Pro Kabaddi League all the more exciting.

This season once again your favorite kabaddi superstars will face each other promising some intense battle and high-octane Panga on the mat.

Pro Kabaddi League Past Seasons:

Pro Kabaddi League Season 1:
In the year 2014, the Pro Kabaddi journey began with much enthusiasm and anticipation. The first season of the league featured eight teams battling it out for the prestigious Pro Kabaddi title over a five-week period. Kabaddi fans from all over the world witnessed some mouth-watering ‘pangas,’ and the league exceeded the expectations. It had the second highest viewership among the sports leagues in India after the IPL. In the end, Jaipur Pink Panthers crowned the champions after they beat U Mumba in the final of the league.

Winner: Jaipur Pink Panthers
Top Raider: Rahul Chaudhari from Telugu Titans
Top Defender: Manjeet Chiller from Bengaluru Bulls
MVP: Anup Kumar from U Mumba

Pro Kabaddi League Season 2:
The second season of the Pro Kabaddi League kicked off in July 2015. The squads were bigger this time with the strength going from 14 to 25. It gave the world a glimpse of the new and exciting kabaddi talent in India and across the globe. This season, U Mumba went one step ahead from the last season as they emerged as the deserving champions beating Bengaluru Bulls in an electrifying contest in the final.

Winner: U Mumba
Top Raider: Kashiling Adake from Dabang Delhi K.C.
Top Defender: Ravinder Pahal from Dabang Delhi K.C.
MVP: Manjeet Chillar from Bengaluru Bulls

Pro Kabaddi League Season 3:
With its ever-increasing popularity, Season 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League came after just five months from the conclusion of the second season. This time teams found their stride and got the hang of the competition. With the perfect balance of attack and defense, teams battled in more closely contested games. In the final, Patna Pirates ousted defending champions U Mumba and lifted the coveted PKL title for the first time.

Winner: Patna Pirates
Top Raider: Rishank Devadiga from U Mumba
Top Defender: Sandeep Narwal from Patna Pirates
MVP: Rohit Kumar from Patna Pirates

Pro Kabaddi League Season 4:
In June 2016, Season 4 returned once again following closely on the heels of the season 3 of the league. For the first time in Pro Kabaddi League, two consecutive seasons were played in the same calendar year. This season also saw the increased international participation with 24 players from 12 countries joining the battle. Patna Pirates defended their title successfully by trumping the champions of the inaugural season Jaipur Pink Panthers in the final.

Winner: Patna Pirates
Top Raider: Rahul Chaudhari from Telegu Titans
Top Defender: Fazel Atrachali from Patna Pirates
MVP: Pradeep Narwal from Patna Pirates

Pro Kabaddi League Season 5:
With the introduction of 4 new teams, the fifth edition of VIVO Pro Kabaddi was the longest in the history of the league. In the season 5, 138 matches were played in a period of 13 weeks. A number of records were broken in the season, including most points in a single game, the most Raid Points in a season, most consecutive High 5s in a season, most Tackle Points in a season among others. Patna Pirates created the history by sailing over the line once again and became the first team to score a hat-trick Pro Kabaddi League titles.

Winner: Patna Pirates
Top Raider: Pradeep Narwal from Patna Pirates
Top Defender: Surender Nada from Haryana Steelers
MVP: Pradeep Narwal from Patna Pirates

Pro Kabaddi League Season 6:
Season 6 of Pro Kabaddi League once again saw many records tumbling. For the first time in the history of the league 5 raiders went past the 200-raid point mark. While 3 defenders too scored over 80 tackle points in the league and Nitesh Kumar becoming the first player to score 100 tackle points in a single season. In the end, Bulls from Bangalore captured their maiden Pro Kabaddi League title ending their title drought.

Winner: Patna Pirates
Top Raider: Pradeep Narwal from Patna Pirates
Top Defender: Nitesh Kumar from U.P. Yoddha
MVP: Pawan Kumar Sehrawat from Bengaluru Bulls

Best Players of Pro Kabaddi League:

Top 5 Players:
1) Rahul Chaudhari
2) Pradeep Narwal
3) Deepak Niwas Hooda
4) Pradeep Narwal
5) Manjeet Chillar

The ‘poster boy’ of Indian Kabaddi Rahul Chaudhari is the player with the most number of points scored in the history of Pro Kabaddi League. With 876 points against his name Rahul Chaudhari is leading point scorer in the league followed by his counterpart Pradeep Narwal with 865 points and all-rounder Deepak Niwas Hooda with 785 points.
In the Raiding department, Pradeep Narwal trumps Rahul Chaudhari with 858 points against his name whereas Rahul has scored 825 raiding points over the course of his PKL career. Indian veteran Ajay Thakur occupies the third spot in the list with a haul of 732 raiding points in the league.

Indian Kabaddi Legend Manjeet Chillar has been the best defender in league with 302 tackle points across six seasons of the league. He is closely followed by ‘the hawk’ Ravinder Pahal with 263 tackle points, and Sandeep Narwal is at third position with 254 tackle points against his name.

Pro Kabaddi League Rules:

The Pro Kabaddi League follows similar rules to that of the indoor team version of Kabaddi. However, the league also has introduced additional rules to encourage more scoring and making the game attractive. The first rule is playing two “empty” raids in a row will trigger a “do-or-die raid”; in this raid, the raider must score a point, or he will be declared out. The second rule is when a defensive side has three or fewer players remaining, and tackles are termed as a “Super Tackle.” The super tackle is awarded two points instead of one.

Pro Kabaddi League Format:

Pro Kabaddi League is played in the groups and playoffs format where 12 teams are divided into 2 zones with 6 teams in each zone. At the group stage, every team will play 22 matches each including 15 Intra-Zone matches, 6 Inter-Zone matches, and 1 wild card match. In Intra-Zone, each team will play every other team of their zone 3 times making it a total of 15 matches. In Inter-Zone, Each team will play every team of the other zone one time making a total of 6 matches. Wild card match will be played Inter-Zone with one team of the other zone to be selected with a random draw. Based on the standings in the points table, top 3 teams from both zones will qualify for the playoffs. At the playoffs stage, Top teams from both the zones will meet in the qualifier 1 where the winner directly will reach to the finals, and the loser of the match will get another chance in qualifier 2. After that, in a series of eliminators, no. 2 teams from zone A will meet no. 3 from zone B and no. 3 team in zone A will meet no. 2 team in zone B. The winners of both the eliminators will go face to face where the winner will advance to the qualifier 2. Then the winner of qualifier 2 will lock horns with the winner of qualifier 1 for the one last time in the final and biggest ‘Panga’ of the season.

Pro Kabaddi League Sponsorship:

Chinese handset maker Vivo Electronics Corp. is the title sponsors for the Pro Kabaddi League for a period of five years, starting 2017. The mega-deal was valued at Rs 300 crore in which VIVO acquired the title sponsorship rights of the league. Earlier the league was known as ‘Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League’ which now is called as ‘Vivo Pro Kabaddi League.’

Pro Kabaddi League Prize Money:

The winning team of the Pro Kabaddi League 2018, took home Rs 3 crore as prize money. The runners-up of the league were also awarded a massive sum of Rs 1.80 crore. The most valuable player of the league got the prize money of Rs 15 lakh, and best defender and raider took away Rs 10 lakh each.

Pro Kabaddi League Upcoming Season:

The Pro Kabaddi League Auction 2019 recently was held in Mumbai on 9th April. The fierce 2-day event saw the team owners and coaches engaged in bidding wars to assemble the best possible team for the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season 7. Each team entered the auction with a large purse amounting ₹4.4 Crore which they shelled out to acquire the services of the kabaddi superstars of their choice. 12 teams bought over 120 players and they also had the option of retaining few players from their existing squad ahead of the auction. Puneri Paltan went all-out with a clean slate in the auction after not choosing to retain any player. The teams spent over 50 Crore in the auction and this time the players from the New Young Players Initiative were in focus, as well as the Overseas Players, were also sought after by the franchises. Siddharth Desai, last season’s best debutant, emerged as the highlight of the auction as he was the most significant buy of the auction. Telugu Titans bagged him for a whopping amount of Rs. 1.45 Crore.

All the teams came into the auction with a definite plan to assemble the right squad. With auctions done and dusted now, Pro Kabaddi League is all set to emerge as one of the most significant sporting events in the country. All the teams are looking well equipped and this season may very well turn out to be the closest one yet.