Dharmaraj Cheralathan was born on 21 April 1975. Hailing from a farming family in Thiruchanampondi village in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu, he considered farming really important while growing up. His pet name is Anna. His siblings include one brother and two sisters. Dharmaraj’s brother D. Gopu is a right corner defender who also plays kabaddi and has played in
PKL for multiple seasons.
Dharmaraj Cheralathan Kabaddi Career
Dharmaraj Cheralathan is a maestro in Kabaddi who has got an experience of more than 20 years starting from 1989. He is one of the most habituated defenders in the sport. He was one of the defenders in the Indian Kabaddi team which won gold at the Kabaddi World Cup in the year 2016. He consistently pairs his experience and tactics to outsmart the opposition raiders.
Dharmaraj Cheralathan -Pro Kabaddi League Career
Dharmaraj played for the Bengaluru Bulls team in Pro Kabaddi League in the inaugural season. He was an ordeal for the raiders of the opposition team with a tackle strike rate of 56.52 %. In Season 1 he scored 13 tackle points and 39 raid points. He was retained by Bengaluru Bulls in Season 2. He led the defense in Season 2 as well. He scored 42 tackle points with a tackle strike rate of 61.76%. Furthermore, he scored 19 raid points in attack and took his team to the finals where they lost narrowly to U Mumba.
Telugu Titans bought him in Pro Kabaddi League Season 3. In that season he scored 31 tackle points at an average tackle strike rate of above 50 %. In season 4, Patna Pirates team hired him for 29 lakhs and appointed him as their captain. He led the Super Tackles count in Season 4 with 8 against his name. Patna Pirates team won the title for the second time in Season 4 under Dharmaraj’s captaincy. Dharmaraj was then been bought by the Puneri Paltan team in Season 5. But then he managed to score only 25 tackle points. He played a total of 18 games for Puneri Paltan in Season 5. Unfortunately, he could not score more than 4 points in any of those matches, even though he helped manage the young and aggressive team with his experience.
During Pro Kabaddi League Season 6 in 2018 U Mumba outbid other teams.
In that season, he re-emerged with a significant tackle point of 40 with a tackle strike rate of 57.97 %. He produced a defensive master class during U Mumba’s win over Gujarat Fortunegiants in Delhi.
Dharmaraj is an aggressive defender in the field who is capable of playing as both the left and right corner defender. His signature move is Ankle hold. It is the way of grabbing the raider’s ankle with tremendous grip and strength often while the raider is darting towards the midline to force him back and create an opportunity for a tackle. He can also play cover positions if necessary. He is one of those very few players who are versatile enough to play multiple positions well which is very difficult in a contact sport like Kabaddi.
Season 7 Performance
Dharmaraj Cheralathan was chosen as the captain of the Haryana Steelers team in Pro Kabaddi League season 7. His exceptional qualities in leadership along with a team performance took Haryana Steelers into the playoffs where they lost to U Mumba. His focus on staying on the mat longer helped Haryana maintain stability. He scored 43 tackle points averaging 2 points per match. Although his contribution as a defender wasn’t significant, as a captain he was the inspirational figure, as well as the leading players, looked up to in the team. Young players like Vikash Kandola and Naveen could benefit from having the experience of Anna in the team.
Awards and Accolades
Dharmaraj Cheralathan has bestowed nine gold medals for various events until 2019. These events include Kabaddi National Championship, VIVO Pro Kabaddi League, Southeast Asian Games of 2017 and the Asian Beach Games of 2017.