Kabaddi & Cricket- Not So Different


Kabaddi is here to delight you. Patrons of cricket, I request you to pay heed to the striking similarities between Cricket and Kabaddi.

Kabaddi packs live and spontaneous action

Kabaddi – The Game

Star Sports has been very responsible and innovative in bringing out Pro Kabaddi which has pumped new life into this game of exhilarating performances. Most of us remember playing Kabaddi as a kid in school. I remember my short but elating engagement with Kabaddi as an energetic youngster, who was not of a heavy built, but always managed to elude the giants. Kabaddi is a game of lingering action. There is not a single dull moment when it comes to Kabaddi. The game keeps both the players as well as the audience on their toes. You have to be a part of the team you support. You have to touchdown at the same as your player does. You don’t just sit there waiting for something to happen. You join in and make things happen as an ardent fan.

Indians prefer cricket over anything and everything. Indians will go for cricket before a meal. They will choose cricket over an important business meeting. They’ll say yes to cricket and a defiant no to their spouse. We can’t think of anything but cricket. It is only fair to say that other sports do fall behind in terms of fan following and a powerful sense of belonging. But all that is about to change in a few minutes my dear readers. Why? And how exactly is that possible? Let me explain.

Kabaddi & Cricket – Similarities

Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan talking during a Pro Kabaddi match (Pic Courtesy: IndianExpress)

You think you know Kabaddi as a game, but you don’t. Trust me when I tell you that there is a lot more to Kabaddi than just holding your breath. The game has evolved over years and involves strategizing, planning, and technical expertise. I wish to take you through those floating similarities which will help you relate to Kabaddi. Kabaddi is not too different from Cricket. If I strike the right chord, I may be able to ‘transfer’ some of you die hard cricket fans to the Kabaddi arena.

Let’s go over some of the commonalities which both Kabaddi and Cricket share:

  1. Game of Attack & Defense- We all know how cricket is based on two crucial aspects of sports. These are attack and defense. We’ve all seen the trends change during the course of a Test match. At times you attack and when the tides are against you, you prefer to defend. Kabaddi too uses the two aspects of sporting as in Kabaddi both attack & defense affect the outcome of the match.  A raider heads the attack as he/she enters the enemy territory. The aim is to touch as many players as possible and then get back home without being caught. Whereas defense constitutes denying an exit to the raider. Thus Kabaddi uses attack and defense simultaneously and shares an important aspect of sporting events with cricket.
  2. Footwork- Surprized? How can foot work be related to Kabaddi? After all, foot work is an art mastered by the likes of Dravid, Sachin, Ponting, and they all carry a bat with them. It may surprise you but a raider uses foot work in an almost equally professional and efficient manner as the best batsmen in the world. A raider imbibes skill, talent, speed, focus, and foot work in order to execute a perfect touchdown. A raider has to chant the word ‘Cant’ continuously while holding his breath. Imagine managing your foot work while holding your breath and eluding seven defenders! I bet even Sachin would have problems mastering such a unique foot work.
  3. Team Spirit- This one is quite easy to understand. Just like cricket, Kabaddi too is a team sport. Your team members are everything to you. You have to keep aside individual ambitions and work as a single unit. This is of great prominence while defending. Players form a ring and keep drawing the raider inwards. When the time is ripe, they jump on him/her, and strive to deny him an escape.
  4. Strategizing & Planning- We all know that a lot of planning and strategizing goes on before Team India steps out on a cricket ground.  You need the right mix of players. You need to know your opponents. You need to do a SWOT analysis of your team. The same techniques are applied when planning and strategizing before a Kabaddi game. ‘Pre-considerations’ involve planning the technique and strategy to be adopted by the raider before he enters enemy territory. Kindly note that the usage of the word ‘enemy’ over ‘opposition’ is intentional. After all, it adds more drama to the story. *chuckles*
  5. Raider is a Batsman- Now hold on there! Am I going too far? How can a raider be similar to a batsman? Let’s put that to test. A raider is not that different from a batsman my dear raiders. Oops! I mean my dear readers. When you think about it, a batsman steps out alone to face the entire opposition. The batsman puts in all the efforts and scores for the team. Similarly, a raider steps into the enemy territory and faces all the antis (opposition players) at once. Just like a batsman, a raider too scores important points for his team. It is a well-known fact that a couple of good raiders can single handedly change the course of a Kabaddi match. This is pretty similar to a memorable knock by any batsman which changes the course of a cricket match.
  6. Patience Triumphs- Test Cricket is real cricket and it is a test of patience, skill, and character. Kabaddi too, at the end of the day, is a game of patience, skill, and character. When you are deep inside the enemy territory, as a raider, you have to be extremely patient in order to win those crucial points for your team. You have to watch the antis carefully and wait for that chink in the armor to appear. This is much like Test cricket where a tight spell of bowling is treated with respect by every patient batsman. But when the opportunity surfaces, the batsman does not miss to score.

    Watch Kabaddi People!

I really hope that my words have been able to get you closer to this action-packed game of Kabaddi. Pro Kabaddi is a landmark show in terms of reviving other sports in India. I would suggest that you switch to Star Sports and enjoy this action ASAP. Kabaddi is waiting for you to step in.