Top 5 raiders who stole the show in the 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championships
67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships just concluded a few days back in Jaipur with Indian Railways winning both the men and women sections for the 2nd consecutive year.
Let us rewind and see who were the top five raiders from the men's section who were in top form in the tournament.
Naveen Kumar- Services (72 Raid points)
Dabang Delhi star Naveen Kumar stole the show at the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships for Services team where the team rode on his high to reach the finals but unfortunately couldn't cross the line in the all-important game. Naveen was unstoppable in the whole tournament where he was seen raiding with intent and took points at regular intervals to keep the opposition out of the game. He scored a total of 72 raid points in 111 raids in the six games he played in the tournament. During the league stages, Naveen was extremely agile and was moving around the mat well and kept scoring points at will and scored big in all games he was part of in the league stages.
In the first game against Kerala, Naveen scored whopping 18 points to give Services a huge win, in the following game against Assam he again pulled out an impactful performance where he scored 8 points before he was substituted so that the bench gets tested. In the knockout stages, he was not as good as he was in the league stage but still, he made sure he delivered. In the QF against Karnataka, he scored 15 points to keep Karnataka out of the game and similarly in the final and semi-final he scored well with 8 and 7 points respectively.
Naveen Bazzad- Bihar (62 Raid points)
A surprise addition to this list is this Raider from Bihar Naveen Bazzad, one would have seen him playing for Haryana Steelers in the PKL 7 and has been having a good year where he featured in the Railway nationals for East Central Railway where he scored 38 points in 6 games.
Naveen played an important role in Bihar doing well in the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships. He consistently scored more than 7 points in all games to keep Bihar in the hunt but unfortunately, they failed to get past UP in the Quarter Final. Naveen made sure he was number 1 ranked player in four out of the five games he played and also scored more than 10 points in four games. He was the backbone of the Bihar team where he single-handedly took care of the raiding department, in the game against UP where Bihar couldn't go forward in the tournament he scored 13 points in 14 raids. Against Telangana, he was at the top of his form where he fetched 18 points out of 19 raids similarly against Gujarat he got thirteen points out of fifteen times he was raiding.
Overall Naveen had a cracker of a tournament for Bihar and it will be interesting to see if it has caught the attention of national selectors and PKL teams who were present at the tournament.
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat: Indian Railways (59 Raid points)
The High Flyer was seen in action for Indian Railways in the 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championships and without any surprise, he is in the 3rd place for highest raid points scored in the tournament. His habit of scoring big in every event is what makes him the player he is today and he never fails to impress the fans where ever he plays.
Pawan started the tournament by scoring 10 points in the game against Jharkhand to leave Jharkhand clueless on how to stop him. He continued his good form in the league stages and took it to the Knockouts too where he was more lethal, Pawan is one player who scores big in big games. In the SF contest against home team Rajasthan, he scored 15 points out of 14 raids he did in that game, he took away the game from Rajasthan and made sure his team went on to the final. In the final, he continued to do well where he was able to get 8 points out of 15 raids, finals is one game where he was a little off where Sandeep Kandola was able to stop him for a brief period of the game. The beauty of a player like him is absorbing pressure and being able to change the course of the match, these two skills in Kabaddi is what it takes to be a champion player like Pawan.
Pawan ended this event with 59 points and made sure Railways successfully defended their title in style for the 2nd consecutive year.
Vijay: Chandigarh (52 Raid points)
Vijay who played for Dabang Delhi in the season 7 represented Chandigarh in the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships, he was pivotal in the progress of Chandigarh as they won two of their 3 league games and one game ended in a tie but had to exit the tournament by losing to Indian Railways in the pre-quarter-finals of the tournament.
Vijay scored 52 points in four games and was the top scorer for Chandigarh in all four games. His best performance of the tournament came against Telangana where he scored 22 points which turned out to be a turning point in the match as Chandigarh went on the win that match with scores of 47-42 in a close encounter. Another impactful performance that he delivered was against Bihar which was the tied encounter where he scored 15 points out of the 29 points Chandigarh scored that day.
Overall Vijay had a good outing in the Senior Nationals 2020 as he emerged as the top scorer for his team in the tournament and also was seen in good space as scored points with ease.
Virendra Singh: Chattisgarh (52 points)
Virendra Singh from Chattisgarh is a total surprise in this list given that Chattisgarh did not make it to the knockouts of the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships. In three games Virendra was able to score 52 points which clearly shows why he has featured in the top 5 raiders list.
He was the lone warrior for his team as he has scored more than 50% of his team's score, in the first game against Kerala he managed to score 27 points in 25 raids out of 43 points Chattisgarh scored which was his best performance of the tournament but he failed to get any support from his team which was the case in all of the games. In the second game against a strong Karnataka, he scored 13 points in 15 raids and again the same story continued as Chattisgarh only manage to score 22 points in the game. In the third and final game against Madhya Pradesh, he ended up scoring 12 points and was again the top scorer for his team.
Chattisgarh went win-less in this tournament but the only positive for them was Virendra's performance against good teams. It will be interesting to see if Virendra gets any attention from selectors or franchises.