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Pro Kabaddi League: Check out the captains in the inaugural edition of PKL

Pro Kabaddi League: Check out the captains in the inaugural edition of PKL

InsideSport takes a trip down memory lane and looks back at the first set of captains who led the teams in the inaugural edition of the league in 2014.

The Pro Kabaddi League has grown into one of the most followed sports leagues in India. Began in the year 2014, the PKL has changed the landscape of the sport completely.

The landmark 10th season of the Pro Kabaddi League is all set to kickstart on 2nd December 2023. InsideSport takes a trip down memory lane and looks back at the first set of captains who led the teams in the inaugural edition of the league in 2014.

Insidesport

Navneet Gautam – Jaipur Pink Panthers

Navneet Gautam will forever be remembered as the first-ever captain to lift the Pro Kabaddi League trophy. He led the Jaipur Pink Panthers in 2014.

Gautam was a defender and he scored 17 tackle points for the side in the inaugural edition. He continued to be part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers till 2017.

However after featuring in 14 matches in the inaugural edition, he represented the side only in 15 matches combined in the next three seasons. He then went on to coach the Australian National Kabaddi team in 2017.

Also Read: Pro Kabaddi Flashback: Did you know, once two Pakistan army men played in PKL

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Anup Kumar – U Mumba

Anup Kumar-led U Mumba finished as the runners-up in the inaugural edition of the league. He scored 155 raid points and 14 tackle points in that edition and was adjudged Most Valuable player.

He went on to become one of the most successful raiders in Pro Kabaddi League. Anup Kumar was part of U Mumba till 2017. He then represented Jaipur in 2018, which was his last season as a player. In 2019, he was the head coach of the Puneri Paltan. However in the next season, he was replaced by BC Ramesh.

Also Read: PKL 2023: Pro Kabaddi League full schedule, dates & venues – Check all details

Insidesport

Manjeet Chhillar – Bengaluru Bulls

Manjeet Chhillar led the Bengaluru Bulls in the inaugural edition of the league. The star defender led the team to the semifinals. His form was also exceptional as he finished as the defender with the most tackle points in that season.

Manjeet went on top become one of the prolific defenders in the league. Till today, he tops the list among the Indians with most tackle points in the league. Overall, he is second only to Fazel Atrachali.

He played till the 2021 season in which his team Dabang Delhi won the titie. He soon retired and was the assistant coach of the Telugu Titans last year.

Also Read: PKL Auction 2023: Full list of updated squads for Pro Kabaddi

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Rakesh Kumar – Patna Pirates

Rakesh Kumar was the skipper of Patna Pirates in 2014. He was the most expensive player in the league back then, having been bought for 12.8 lakh.

Rakesh played for Patna in the first two editions before moving to U Mumba. His last season as a playesr was in 2017 when he played for Telugu Titans. He later became the coach of Haryana Steelers in 2019 and led them to the playoffs. Manpreet Singh then replaced him as the coach of the side.

Also Read: PKL 2023: SWOT Analysis of Jaipur Pink Panthers ahead of Pro Kabaddi League 2023

Rajaguru Subramanian – Telugu Titans

Defender Rajaguru Subramanian led the Telugu Titans in the first season. Under his captaincy, the Titans missed the play-off spot by just three points and finished fifth.

He led the team that had star players like Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Hooda and Sukesh Hegde. Rajaguru only managed 19 tackle points in that season. He went on to play for Dabang Delhi and U Mumba. In 2019, he retired as a player and went on to coach U Mumba.

Jasmer Singh – Dabang Delhi

Jasmer led Dabang Delhi to a sixth place finish in the inaugural season. He was the best defender for the side back then with 38 tackle points in that season.

He continued to lead Delhi for one more season. However subsequently he went on to play for other teams like Puneri Paltan, Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls. He last played in the league in the sixth season in 2018.

Insidesport

Nilesh Shinde – Bengal Warriors

Nilesh Shinde was the captain of the Bengal Warriors in the inaugural edition. Under him, the team finished seventh in the points table back then.

Shinde bagged 28 tackle points in that edition of the league from 14 matches. He led the Bengal Warriors side for the next three seasons In 2017, he played for Dabang Delhi. It was his last year in the league as a player.

Also Read: UP Yoddhas bank on consistency to win maiden PKL title, Check squad analysis

Wazir Singh – Puneri Paltan

Under the leadership of Wazir Singh, Puneri Paltan finished last on the points table. He led the team from the front in the raids and bagged 104 raid points. However he couldn’t find enough support as the team managed to win just two matches in 2014.

He captained Puneri Paltan in the next editon as well in which his team yet again finished at the bottom. Wazir then played for Dabang Delhi and Haryana Steelers, before retiring in 2018.

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