A veteran of Pro Kabaddi, Rahul Chaudhari is regarded as the ‘Showman’ of the league. Having played for Telugu Titans in the first six seasons, Chaudhari has always stood neck-to-neck with the league’s most successful raider Pardeep Narwal with his domineering performances. But despite a glittering career, Chaudhari’s dipping form over the past few PKL seasons have taken the limelight off him in recent times.
The thrill is gone
During his first season in the league, Chaudhari racked up a total of 161 points, just eight fewer of the league’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ Anup Kumar. This was a testament to his raiding abilities where he could take even the fiercest of defences down. Since the first three seasons had fewer number of matches, Chaudhari’s work rate was high and effective but since the fifth season, his explosiveness has gone for a toss and the agility is nowhere to be seen.
His speed is no longer a big concern for the opponents as his iconic ‘running hand touch’ seemed to have lost its frizzle. He has lacked awareness and is easily cornered against quality defenders. It seems to be an inescapable rut for the star raider.
A lost virtue of versatility
Probably one of the reasons Titans replaced him was because of fading imagination on the mat. Chaudhari was Titans’ go-to-raider, steering them to victory on multiple occasions but his style of play was becoming predictable.
In crux situations, Chaudhari has been ineffective as his average of successful raids has gone down from 7.22 in the fifth season to 5.25 in the ongoing seventh season so far. His huge reputation of turning matches on their heads has taken a hit and the trait of versatility has gone out of the window.
Dip in Raid points
Given his sturdy built and the advantage of height coming into play, Chaudhari was able to outclass some of the most top-notch defenders in the game, but even that has taken a hit in recent times. The average raid points in the fourth season were above nine but in the ongoing seventh season, the raid points have dried up, leaving the average hanging at 6.56 from his first 16 matches.
The 26-year-old’s glittering career has been in descent since the past three seasons but the fleet-footed raider’s uncanny ability to spot and eliminate a defender still persists, which gives his fans hope that a comeback is possibly on the cards.
Feature image courtesy: Star Sports & PKL