With the Pro Kabaddi League making a comeback with its fifth season from July 28, we bring you a list of players to watch out for, and a little more than just that.
Jang Kun Lee, Bengal Warriors
USP: Jang is the aggressor. He uses his flexibility and height to his advantage, taking every raid as an opportunity to score. Known for his smooth backtracking skills and style of play, the 6-feet tall Jang has been one of the most well-known international players in the league.
Previous PKL record: Having participated in every season since 2014, Jang has conducted 188 successful raids - eighth best overall. His most-successful season was the third edition of PKL where he single-handedly scored a total of 90 points for the Bengal Warriors.
What you didn't know about him: Jang is a martial arts instructor apart from being an avid rower back home in South Korea. No wonder his reflexes are razor-sharp.
If he was a gymnast he'd be: Simone Biles.
Fazel Atrachali, Gujarat Giants
Position: Defender, left corner
USP: Fazel is all zen. He's timid and takes his time to settle, but once he does, his patience and presence of mind can distract a raider. He's sharp on-court, with crystal clear plans and can be a threat to any raider who is ultra aggressive.
Previous PKL record: In the three seasons Fazel has played so far, he has scored 97 points - 95 out of which are from successful tackles. Fazel gained prominence at the Kabaddi World Cup, where he dominated the defence in Iran's successful run to the final. He has been good in the PKL, but things will be a tad different this season as expectations have risen after being a priority pick for Gujarat in the auctions.
What you didn't know about him: He enjoys watching Bollywood movies. Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan films are on top of his list.
If he was a badminton player, he'd be: Lee Chong Wei.
Ajay Thakur, Tamil Thalaivas
USP: Ajay is all about mind games. He strategises every move in the 30 seconds of raiding time. With 14 years of experience, he is not only a skillful raider, but a skillful planner. Strong at all sides of the court, he targets the left sides for defenders who are better on the right side, and vice versa. When in-form, Ajay can easily become a one-man army for his side.
Previous PKL record: A lot like Fazel, Ajay too was somewhere in the background till the Kabaddi World Cup. He's ranked No.4 in terms of total raid points at the PKL with 327 in 58 matches, but at the World Cup he was the highest scorer overall with 64 raid points, which led India to their eighth consecutive title.
What you didn't know about him: Once mocked by the Indian team for being too skinny in his initial years, Ajay worked on his fitness to gain 12 kilos in 15 days.
If he was an NBA player, he would've been: LeBron James.
Deepak Niwas Hooda, Puneri Paltan
USP: Deepak is the silent killer. He's an all-rounder, but is known for his raiding skills. He's the kind of raider who doesn't show his emotions. He is known for being quick and unpredictable, therefore, making it difficult for the defenders to predict his moves during a raid.
Previous PKL record: With over 342 raid points in 52 matches, Deepak is one of the most consistent players of the league. His best display was in Season 4 where he scored 130 successful raid points - the third best - taking Pune to a third-place finish.
What you didn't know about him: Before becoming a kabaddi player, Deepak used to be a teacher.
If he was a cricketer he'd be: Cheteshwar Pujara.
Shabeer Bapu, U Mumba
USP: Shabeer is the right mix of experience and agility. He is swift, firm and very strong as an athlete. With an experience of almost 15 years in the game, his raids are powerful enough to go past a number of defenders with ease.
Previous PKL record: With 42 matches and 162 points in total, Shabeer has been good, but prone to injuries off late. But when he plays, he plays like no one else. For example, in Season 2, out of the 10 games he played he won six 'best raider' titles.
What you didn't know about him: Shabeer left his home in Kerala, at the age of 17, to pursue kabaddi.
If he was a tennis player, he'd be: Serena Williams.