The 24-year-old impressed with his performances for the Patna Pirates.
In the very short history of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), very few players have made the same impact as Pardeep Narwal. Despite starting his Pro Kabbadi career in Season Two, the 24-year-old has left a huge imprint on the league and on his team. The legend of the Dubki King will live long in the annals of India’s topmost Kabaddi League.
Pardeep joined the Bengaluru Bulls in the second season of PKL. He made his first appearance, in what was a fateful encounter, against his future team, the Patna Pirates. He featured sporadically during his first year, making six appearances but still notched up 9 points. But then came the move that changed his career.
The Haryana native moved to the Patna Pirates for Season 3. Ever since the move, Pardeep has never looked back. He set out to grab the Kabaddi world’s attention and did just that when the Patna Pirates faced off against the Telugu Titans in just their fourth match. Pardeep, then 18, registered his first-ever Super 10, including 11 raid points en route to a 29-25 victory over the formidable Rahul Chaudhari and company.
He formed a much-dreaded two-punch combination with Rohit Kumar leading the Pirates to the knockout stages with a second-place finish. The duo recorded a combined 218 points during the campaign.
Narwal had another Super 10 outing in the semifinals. He scored 10 points as the Pirates breezed past the Puneri Paltan 40-21. Unfortunately, he was injured in the final. Pardeep did not raid but the Pirates survived the U Mumba onslaught behind strong performances from Sandeep Narwal and Rohit Kumar. The victory gave the Bihar-based side their first ever title.
If the third Pro Kabaddi League season was a Rohit-Pardeep affair, the fourth season turned out to be a one-man show from Pardeep. Rohit Kumar made a move to the Bengaluru Bulls giving Pardeep the major raid responsibility for the Pirates. He answered his calling in fine fashion notching up another remarkable season and finishing with 107 raid points in the league stages. But the best was yet to come.
He put in an eight point performance to see off the Puneri Paltan in the semifinal before unleashing himself in the finals against the Jaipur Pink Panthers, scoring 16 raid points in a crucial battle against Jasvir Singh, who scored 13 points. The Pirates won their second title, by a score of 37-29.
Pardeep’s performance in seasons three and four of the Pro Kabaddi League was only a trailer. His best was yet to arrive. As the league expanded in season five to include 12 teams, so did Pardeep and his numbers. 369 points put him first in the league for points, way ahead of Rohit Kumar (231 points) at second. Pardeep scored 19 Super 10s in 26 matches, which included a run of 8 straight matches of 10 or more points in the season. The Pirates qualified for the Playoffs, finishing behind Bengal Warriors in Zone B.
The 2017 PKL playoffs was Pardeep Narwal’s. The first eliminator against Haryana Steelers saw the greatest ever individual performance in PKL history. Pardeep scored 34 points, which included an 8-point raid in which he cleaned out the entire Steelers’ squad. The Pirates won by 39 points. He then had 19 points against the Puneri Platan in Eliminator 3 before scoring 23 points in a closely fought victory over the Bengal Warriors.
As Patna Pirates got ready for a historic hat-trick of titles, it was their star man who stole the spotlight. A mammoth 19 points allowed the Pirates to rout the Gujarat Fortunegiants by a scoreline of 55-38. While Patna became the first team to win three consecutive titles in PKL history, Narwal became the man to be feared.
Season 6 was individually strong for Pardeep but the Pirates failed to compliment his performance with victories. Despite scoring 233 points in his fifth season, Pardeep failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his PKL career, missing out by a point. He continued to put up strong numbers in Season 7 but he was not able to take the Pirates into the playoffs. However, the Haryana native reached 1000 PKL points during the Season. He leads the League in raid points, successful raids as well as total points and is far ahead of his nearest competitor Rahul Chaudhari.
Despite a difficult 2018 and 2019, Pardeep Narwal has set the absolute standard for dominance. The Pirates star has established himself as a threat for opposition defenders. His performance earned him several Indian team call-ups as well. He was part of the Gold-winning 2016 World Cup side as well as the side that won Bronze in the 2018 Asian Games.
As PKL season 8 edges closer, Pardeep will be waiting. His shot at redemption is right around the corner and the 24-year-old will be looking to get back to his dominant self and capture his fourth title. But no matter what, it is safe to say that his presence has been etched into PKL folklore.