The Pro Kabaddi Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is won by players who perform exceptionally well throughout the season.
Since the inception of Pro Kabaddi in 2014, six players across eight seasons have won the award with raiders predominantly dominating the list.
Of all the kabaddi players on the Pro Kabaddi MVP list, only Pardeep Narwal and Naveen Kumar have managed to win the award twice. While Pardeep won the prestigious award in Season 4 and 5 of PKL, Naveen Kumar won in Season 7 and Season 8 respectively.
Meanwhile, Asian Gold medalist Manjeet Chhillar is the only all-rounder to have won the MVP award.
Here are the players on the Pro Kabaddi MVP list.
Pro Kabaddi Season 1 MVP: Anup Kumar
The first captain for the U Mumba team, Anup Kumar, was the standout performer in the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi with 169 points. His tally of 155 raid points in Season 1 were the most points by any raider for the first four seasons until Pardeep Narwal broke the record in Season 5 (2017).
The 2016 Kabaddi World Cup winner led U Mumbai to the final, although they lost 35-24 to Jaipur Pink Panthers in a riveting clash.
Pro Kabaddi Season 2 MVP: Manjeet Chhillar
Manjeet Chhillar won the Pro Kabaddi MVP award in Season 2 for his all-round performance with the Bengaluru Bulls. The all-rounder - who finished with 107 points (67 raid points, 40 tackle points) - is the only player in Pro Kabaddi history to feature in the top 10 list for both best raiders and defenders in a single edition.
Despite battling health issues during the league stage, Manjeet was the driving force for the Bulls en-route to the PKL final against U Mumba. Back then, his tally of 11 points was the most by any player in the Season 2 PKL final, but the Bengaluru Bulls star ended on the losing side by a twist of fate.
Manjeet Chhillar continues to hold the records for most tackle points (339) and most successful tackles (324) in Pro Kabaddi.
Pro Kabaddi Season 3 MVP: Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar is fondly remembered as the first MVP winner of a PKL-winning team. Rohit, known for his ruthless attacking and superb flexibility on the mat, capped a memorable debut season in the Pro Kabaddi as he pioneered Patna Pirates to the title in 2016.
He tallied 102 raid points in 12 matches, averaging 8.5 raid points per match. This was one of the key reasons he was awarded the PKL MVP award.
The raider, now plying his trade with Telugu Titans, has amassed 100 points in every PKL season since his debut in Pro Kabaddi Season 3.
Pro Kabaddi Season 4 MVP: Pardeep Narwal
Season 4 marked the arrival of Pardeep Narwal as a prolific raider. The former Patna Pirates star, who registered 116 raid points with 10 Super Raids in Season 3, upped the ante in Pro Kabaddi Season 4 by tallying 133 points.
The Haryana raider developed his signature move ‘Dubki’ in PKL Season 4, as he racked up five Super 10s and completed three Super Raids in 16 matches to pioneer Patna to their second successive final.
Pro Kabaddi Season 5 MVP: Pardeep Narwal
Pardeep Narwal broke not just one but five records in a historic PKL Season 5 with Patna Pirates. The Haryana-born raider went past Anup Kumar for most raid points in a single campaign whilst playing the 12th match of the season.
Going forward, Pardeep went on to script history by tallying the most total points in a season (369 points), most successful raids (271), most super raids (18) and most super 10s (19).
Pardeep Narwal averaged a mammoth 14.19 raid points per match in PKL Season 5.
⏪ On his special day, let's take a look back at that famous 8-point raid that Pardeep Narwal scored with so much of ease.💚🤩#PirateHamla #Pirates #ProKabaddi #HappyBirthdayDubkiKing pic.twitter.com/LTZIe3bEyb— Patna Pirates (@PatnaPirates) February 16, 2020
Against the Haryana Steelers in Eliminator 2, Pardeep Narwal completed a historic raid worth eight points, as he managed to get six defenders out and secured two all-out points as well. In all, the ‘Dubki King’ registered a record 34-point haul in the match.
Pro Kabaddi Season 6 MVP: Pawan Sehrawat
Of all his performances in PKL Season 6, Pawan Sehrawat will be remembered for spearheading Bengaluru Bulls’ comeback in the final against the Gujarat Giants (formerly known as Gujarat Fortunegiants).
The Bulls were eight points behind with just 18 minutes left in the final, but a spectacular performance in the second half saw Sehrawat turn around the contest in his team’s favour and end the match with 22 points - the most by any kabaddi player in a PKL final.
Pawan Sehrawat earned the MVP award as he finished the campaign as the leading raid-point scorer (271) and registered the most Super Raids (12) in the entire season.
Pro Kabaddi Season 7 MVP: Naveen Kumar
After a splendid debut campaign with Dabang Delhi K.C. in Season 6, Naveen Kumar continued his stellar form in PKL Season 7 with 303 points in 23 matches.
But what was more outstanding is that the young kabaddi player registered 22 Super 10s in the campaign, breaking the previous record set by Pardeep Narwal in Season 5.
A raider with speed, strength, agility and tact, Naveen Kumar averaged a staggering 13.08 raid points per game in Pro Kabaddi Season 7. By the end of the campaign, he became the youngest player to score 300 raid points in a single Pro Kabaddi season.
Pro Kabaddi Season 8 MVP: Naveen Kumar
Naveen Kumar became only the second player in Pro Kabaddi after Pardeep Narwal to win the MVP award of the season twice. Naveen's 207 raid points across 17 PKL matches in Season 8 played a key role in Dabang Delhi K.C. winning their maiden Pro Kabaddi title.
Naveen Kumar scored 12 super 10s in PKL Season 8 with seven of them coming in succession.
Author: William Paul
Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi