Revisiting Sandeep Narwal's remarkable journey in Pro Kabaddi League
(Courtesy : ProKabaddiLeague)
He is popularly known as “The Beast” among Indian fans.
Sandeep Narwal needs no introduction to Kabaddi fans. He comes from Haryana, specifically born in Sonipat district’s Kathura village. He is an all-rounder like no other, who is as good in attack and in defence, best termed as a “full-package,” The ability to excel at all aspects of the sport sets Sandeep apart from other players in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL).
The all-rounder got the nickname “The Beast” due to his towering physique and ability to defend strongly. The fans are huge admirers of his powerful gameplay and domination on the mat. Blocking is his specialty and the aggressiveness in his approach is terrifying for opposition raiders.
The player has inherited the talent from his father O.P Narwal who was also a Kabaddi player back in his youth. He had played for India at the Asian Games too and remains a strong factor in making Sandeep a successful player.
Playing Kabaddi since childhood
Sandeep Narwal started playing Kabaddi at a very early age. He started showing signs of brilliance after catching the basics of the sport from early on. Sandeep has been playing the sport since he was 8-years-old and won hearts with his all-round gameplay at the junior level in school. It was clear that this modest, but hugely talented boy from Haryana would one day be a big force in the sport.
A gifted player from an early age, Sandeep won several awards for his school in U-14, U-17 and U-19 categories. After observing his sensational performances at the junior level, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) selected him for further training in Gandhinagar. He met coach Jaiveer Sharma there, who helped Narwal become a better version of himself and evolve as a great all-around player.
Sandeep played for India at the 2011 Junior Asian Games and soon joined the senior setup. He was a part of the Indian team that won in the 2016 South Asian Games. Furthermore, he was part of the 2016 squad that went on to win the Kabaddi World Cup.
Journey in Pro Kabaddi League
The PKL came as a boon for several Indian players. One of them was Sandeep Narwal, who gained a lot of recognition from the league. He was able to showcase his talent on a big platform and the fans liked his effort on the mat.
During the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi League, Patna Pirates were the team to select Sandeep Narwal, who was already a major figure in the sport at that time. He went on to play for the franchise for the next three seasons. In his first PKL season, Narwal scored 27 tackle and 92 raid points, thus scoring a total of 119 points. Later on, he got the captaincy after an injury to Rakesh Narwal during the second season. He was exceptional as a leader and guided the outfit to a semi-final finish.
The third season was very successful for him. Patna Pirates went on to win the competition and Sandeep scored 55 tackle points, only second to Manjeet Chillar. His destination for the fourth season were the Telugu Titans, where he met a young powerhouse in Rahul Choudhary. Sandeep scored 24 raid points and 42 tackle points (66 points total) during that campaign. Despite some good individual performances from Sandeep, the Titiana could not manage to qualify for the playoffs.
Proved his mettle in fifth season
In the fifth season of the PKL, Puneri Paltan came forward to acquire Sandeep Narwal’s services after paying ₹72.6 lakhs. He was instrumental for his new team, which used Narwal’s all-around ability to good effect.
He was a strong backup raider and a staunch presence in the right-corner position in defence. Sandeep scored 52 tackle points and 33 raid points, helping Puneri Paltan secure a second-place finish in Zone A.
The sixth & seventh seasons
Puneri Paltan decided to retain their star all-rounder for another season after good performances. Sandeep was again instrumental and managed 25 raid points with 41 tackle points for the outfit.
Next campaign, Sandeep moved to U-Mumba after the franchise paid ₹89 lakhs for the player and became the vice-captain of the team. The all-rounder was exceptional for U-Mumba, scoring 56 tackle points and 20 raid points, thus leading by example. His successful tackle rate was 50% during the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Sandeep Narwal has scored a total of 249 raid points and 310 tackle points. These numbers justify why he is one of the finest all-rounders in the league. The 28-year-old is an important asset in whichever team he is playing for in the league. After all, he is one of three all-rounders to score over 500 points in the competition.
Dabang Delhi have put their faith in Sandeep’s capabilities for the eighth season by purchasing him for ₹60 lakhs in the auction. It will be interesting to see how the all-rounder performs in the upcoming campaign of the league.
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