Reliving the Memories: First Captains of Pro Kabaddi League Teams in 2014
InsideSport looks back at the inaugural edition of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014 and the first set of captains who led their teams. The league, which began in 2014, has transformed the landscape of the sport and is now one of the most popular sports leagues in India. As the landmark 10th season of the Pro Kabaddi League approaches, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the captains who shaped the league’s early years.
Navneet Gautam, the first-ever captain to lift the Pro Kabaddi League trophy, led the Jaipur Pink Panthers in 2014. As a defender, Gautam scored 17 tackle points for the team in the inaugural edition, and continued to be part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers until 2017. He then went on to coach the Australian National Kabaddi team in 2017.
Anup Kumar led U Mumba to a runner-up finish in the inaugural edition and was adjudged the Most Valuable player with 155 raid points and 14 tackle points. He went on to become one of the most successful raiders in the Pro Kabaddi League and later served as the head coach of the Puneri Paltan.
Manjeet Chhillar, the captain of the Bengaluru Bulls, led the team to the semifinals in the inaugural edition and finished as the defender with the most tackle points. He continued to be one of the most prolific defenders in the league and played until the 2021 season when his team, Dabang Delhi, won the title.
Rakesh Kumar, the skipper of Patna Pirates in 2014, was the most expensive player in the league at the time and went on to play for U Mumba and Telugu Titans before retiring as a player in 2017. He then became the coach of Haryana Steelers.
Rajaguru Subramanian led the Telugu Titans in the first season and later played for Dabang Delhi and U Mumba before retiring as a player and becoming a coach for U Mumba.
Jasmer Singh led Dabang Delhi to a sixth-place finish in the inaugural season and continued to play for other teams before retiring in the sixth season in 2018.
Nilesh Shinde captained the Bengal Warriors in the inaugural edition and led the team for the next three seasons before retiring in 2017. Wazir Singh led Puneri Paltan to a last-place finish in 2014 and continued to play for Dabang Delhi and Haryana Steelers before retiring in 2018.