Latham also saw similarities between kabaddi and rugby – New Zealand’s most popular sport with the All Blacks enjoying cult status back home.
India is the pioneer in kabaddi, with the men’s team winning seven of the eight gold medals in the history of the Asian Games, while Professional Kabaddi League (PKL) has become one of the most popular franchise leagues in the country, attracting talented players from around the world.
Boult has backed teammates Mitchell and Southee to test their mettle in the sport, saying the duo is strongly built for the rigors of a tough sport like kabaddi.
“I’ve watched it a few times. I think you need strong legs for this sport. I’d put Daryl Mitchell and Tim Southee’s names up for this game.”
During their time in India at the World Cup, where they lost to hosts Rohit Sharma in the semi-finals, Boult, Santner and Latham showed interest as they were shown the highlights of the PKL.
“It looks like a pretty physical game. It looks a lot like rugby, with guys combining to stop one guy from getting over the line. I’d nominate Glenn Phillips for the sport. He’s a strong pocket racket,” Latham said.
All-rounder Santner also encouraged Phillips to play kabaddi for his agility.
“I probably have the talent for the sport but not the strength. You have to be agile and strong to play kabaddi. Lockie Ferguson could play well. He has a strong core and big legs.”
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