Kabaddi is India’s only game that has exploded in international popularity, and in a short period has attracted both national and international players.
The name of kabaddi was known only outside India 10 years ago, but now it is a strong contestant to be included in the Olympics thanks to a constant effort by players and sponsors.
There are many names in this game that have mastered the sport with ever-growing popularity in the cricket-obsessed country.
To know some of them, here are the best kabaddi players in India:
10. Manjeet Chhillar
Manjeet Chhillar, a renowned kabaddi player hailing from Nizampur, Delhi, initially pursued wrestling but later switched to kabaddi due to a nose injury.
He rose to prominence during the Asian Games 2010 and went on to win several gold medals in the sport, including the prestigious Arjuna Award.
Manjeet’s exceptional performance earned him a place in the Indian Kabaddi Team.
As of February 15, 2022, Manjeet Chhillar has 329,177 followers on social media and his rank in the most popular Kabaddi Players’ ranking is 8.
He is also on top of Pro Kabaddi’s all-time leaderboards for tackle points (391), successful tackles (374), and High 5s (37).
In the fifth season of the PKL, Manjeet moved to Jaipur Pink Panthers as their new skipper
9. Anup Kumar
Anup Kumar is known to be a retired professional kabaddi player born on 20th November 1983.
He had been a part of the Indian Kabaddi Team and achieved Asian gold medals in the years 2010 and 2014, a South Asian gold medal in 2016, and also the Kabaddi World Cup in the same year. Anup Kumar was the leader or caption of the Indian Kabaddi Team.
He is the only Indian to have led the team of U Mumba for the consequent five seasons.
He is also known as one of the greatest raiders in the Pro Kabaddi League, and also International Kabaddi.
Government authorities rewarded him Arjuna award for his outstanding performance in sports in the year 2012.
8. Kashiling Adake
Kashiling Adake was born in Kasegaon, Sangli, Maharashtra.
In 2013, his father passed away, leaving him as the sole breadwinner for his family.
He started working on a farm and at a sugarcane factory while also pursuing kabaddi, a sport he had played since his school days.
With the help of his uncle Sunil Adake, Kashiling moved to Mumbai and joined Bharat Petroleum.
He later made it to the National Squad and was selected by Dabang Delhi in 2014.
He was awarded the Best Raider Award in the 2nd season after scoring 114 points, the highest of any Raider. Kashiling also holds the record for the most points in a single Kabaddi League game and is a popular kabaddi player in Maharashtra.
7. Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar is a known kabaddi player born in Nizampur, Haryana in 1990.
Rohit Kumar had a common affection for the game of Kabaddi. Looking through players like Manjeet Chhillar, and Mohit Chillar coming from the same native place, provided him with the determination to grasp something comparable in the world of Kabaddi.
He started his career in the pro kabaddi league season 3 for the Patna Pirates, where he was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the season.
Rohit then later got chosen by the Bengaluru Bulls in the fourth season. He got selected in the National Squad in the year 2016 to play in the South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong, where he achieved a gold medal for his nation.
We know his frog jump to be one of his special moves.
Only in a matter of 3 seasons, he rose to number four in the list of players with the most Super10s in the league.
6. Pawan Kumar
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat is an Indian competent kabaddi player born in New Delhi who plays in the Pro Kabaddi League.
He is a part of the Bengaluru Bulls, for whom he had started playing in Season 1 since his first game.
He was extraordinary when he played in the Federation Cup. During his opening match in the Pro Kabaddi League 2018, he scored a 20-point haul facing the Tamil Thalaivas.
He continued with 16 points in the following game. He has achieved over 500 points by now.
Pawan accomplished 29 points in one game, making it the third-highest single score in the League’s records.
He was the most expensive buy on Day 1 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) 2023 (Season 9) Player Auctions held in Mumbai, fetching INR 2 crore.
Pawan has been showcasing great raiding skills in season 7 of the Pro Kabaddi League. However, he suffered a major blow at the start of the Pro Kabaddi 2022 season when he got injured.
5. Maninder Singh
Maninder Singh is a proficient Kabaddi player born in Hoshiarpur, in the district of Punjab, and plays for the Indian Kabaddi Team
Maninder Singh is known to be one of the best and fastest raiders in the Pro Kabaddi League.
Maninder is the captain and also the best kabaddi raider of the Bengal Warriors in the Pro Kabaddi League.
He currently holds the title of achieving 500 points as the fastest raider in the league, only having played 56 matches.
He is known for his capability of tricking defenders and his estimated actions that leave defenders confused.
4. Ajay Thakur
Ajay Thakur is known to be one of India’s greatest raiders born in Dabhota village of Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh.
His Cousin, Rakesh, was the reason for his enthusiasm as he had already exhibited India in Kabaddi at the International Level.
Ajay Thakur is a past captain of the Indian National Kabaddi team and is ranked among the top 10 kabaddi players in the world.
He had been part of the national team, which had won the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and a gold medal in the Asian Games of 2014.
In 2019, Govt of India awarded him with the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award.
3. Deepak Niwas Hooda
Deepak Niwas Hooda is a well-known proficient Indian Kabaddi player born in Chamaria Village of the Rohtak district.
He is the captain of the Indian national Kabaddi team.
He even was a part of the team which won the gold medal in the South Asian Games in 2016. Deepak Niwas Hooda has displayed his Kabaddi skills in all the Pro Kabaddi seasons.
Hooda is known to have achieved gold medals in the Asian Games of 2014, Asian Kabaddi Championship in 2017, and a bronze medal in the Asian Games of 2018.
2. Rahul Choudhary
Rahul Chaudhari, a well-known skillful Kabaddi player from the Jalalpur Choiya village in the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, started playing kabaddi at the age of 13 in the year 2006.
He debuted his career as a defender but later became a raider.
He had been a part of the Indian National Kabaddi team that achieved a gold medal in the South Asian Games in 2016, earning the title “world’s best kabaddi player” that year.
Rahul played six seasons for the Telugu Titans, but now is a part of the Tamil Thalaivas.
Rahul Chaudhari was the perfect raider in season 4 of the Pro Kabaddi League by concluding the league with 146 raid points and 11 tackle points.
He became the captain of the Telugu Titans in Season 5 and completed his crusade with 193 points-184 points and 9 tackle points.
1. Pardeep Narwal
Pardeep Narwal, born in the Rindhana village of Haryana’s Sonipat district, is often known as the best Indian kabaddi player in 2023.
He presently plays for the Patna Pirates in the Pro Kabaddi League and the Indian National Kabaddi team.
He is known to be an outstanding player in the league and currently has the most raid point scorer in the league’s records.
Pardeep Narwal is also known to be the first person in the league to score 900 points in its 7th season.
Patna Pirates achieved the league’s title 3 times continuously amidst the years 2016-17 and Pardeep holds the horde of the league’s raiding peak scores.
He was also awarded the Best Raider Award twice in the years of 2017 and 2018.