With 671 points to his name in the Pro Kabaddi league, U.P. Yoddha raider Rishank Devadiga is one of the finest raiders to have ever graced the sport.
The raider was part of the U Mumba side that went to three straight finals in the first three seasons of the Pro Kabaddi league and was also named the Best Raider in Season 3 of the league, where his side lost to Patna Pirates in the final.
A veteran of seven seasons, Devadiga has played with and against the best that the sport has to offer, and during an Instagram live on the Pro Kabaddi handle, the raider was asked to pick his dream kabaddi team.
Here’re the seven players he picked:
Corners – Fazel Atrachali and Ravinder Pahal
For the Left Corner spot, Devadiga chose former teammate and the most decorated foreign player in the history of the Pro Kabaddi league, U Mumba’s Fazel Atrachali.
The Iranian has won two Pro Kabaddi titles and is one of only two players alongside Manjeet Chhillar to win the Best Defender Award twice. Atrachali is the third-highest tackle point scorer in Pro Kabaddi league history and was also part of Iran’s Asian Games side that pipped India to the gold medal in 2018.
For the Right Corner, the raider chose Dabang Delhi K.C.’s Ravinder Pahal, whom he also named as the toughest defender he’s faced in the Pro Kabaddi league.
Pahal, a former Best Defender Award winner in Season 2, is the second-highest tackle point scorer in Pro Kabaddi with 326 in 112 matches. ‘The Hawk’, as he’s fondly known, reached the final in Pro Kabaddi Season 7 with Dabang Delhi K.C. but were pipped to the title by Bengal Warriors.
Covers – Jeeva Kumar and Vishal Mane
Devadiga went for experience in the Cover region and picked two former teammates, Bengal Warriors’ Jeeva Kumar and Dabang Delhi K.C.’s Vishal Mane.
The duo were also part of the U Mumba side that went to three straight finals from Season 1 through 3.
Jeeva is the second-highest tackle point-scoring Cover in Pro Kabaddi league history with 234 tackle points in 115 matches. Jeeva won his second Pro Kabaddi title with the Bengal Warriors in Season 7.
The ever-present Vishal Mane has played the most matches in Pro Kabaddi league history (128) and is just three tackle points shy of becoming the third Cover defender with 200 tackle points. Mane has won the Pro Kabaddi title twice and played in, a Pro Kabaddi record, five finals in his career.
Raiders – Anup Kumar, Naveen Kumar and Pankaj Mohite
His first pick in his dream team and perhaps the easiest pick, was Anup Kumar, who Devadiga chose to lead his Pro Kabaddi dream team.
Rishank played four seasons under Anup’s tutelage and enjoyed a lot of success playing alongside the kabaddi legend. Dubbed ‘Captain Cool’, Anup captained U Mumba to a title win in Season 2 and led India to multiple gold medals on the international stage. Anup ranks 10th in Pro Kabaddi’s all-time scoring list with 596 points in 91 appearances.
For the role of the team’s primary raider, Devadiga chose Dabang Delhi K.C.’s Naveen Kumar. The league’s reigning MVP became just the third player to score 300 points in a single season and shattered the record for most Super 10s in a row with 21 and counting. Naveen led Dabang Delhi K.C. to their maiden appearance in a Pro Kabaddi final, where they were beaten by Bengal Warriors.
Puneri Paltan’s Pankaj Mohite was a wildcard choice in Devadiga’s dream team. The young raider, who is the veteran’s teammate in the Maharastra kabaddi team, enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in Season 7. Despite sharing the mat with Manjeet and Nitin Tomar, Mohite finished Season 7 with 113 points. The young raider is primed to have a stellar campaign in Season 7 and this wildcard may seem genius in hindsight in the coming years.
Feature image courtesy: ProKabaddi.com