Deepak Niwas Hooda decoded: Why is he such a highly sought after player?
May 30 2018, 7:30 pm IST
When auctioneer Chris Cowdrey brought the hammer down, a record was broken. Deepak Niwas Hooda became the most expensive buy in the history of PKL as he was bought for Rs. 1.15 crore by the Jaipur Pink Panthers. Although that record was broken by Monu Goyat(Haryana Steelers), Deepak Niwas Hooda still remains a Kabaddi 'Gem', a player who is one of the best raiding all rounders in the league.
He started his Pro Kabaddi Campaign with the Telugu Titans in the first two seasons where he raided alongside the Raid Machine Rahul Chaudhary and got 87 and 60 raid points in his first two seasons respectively. He wasn't of much use defensively in the first season but he produced 36 tackle points with 3 High Fives and a tackle success rate of 52% which is remarkable when taking into account his raiding performance.
He later made a move to Puneri Paltan where he became their lead raider and their do-or-die specialist. He got 69 raid points in Season 3 and 126 raid points in Season 4 and in Season 5, he was the Puneri Paltan's only retained player. He was appointed as captain of the side and he shouldered the responsibility with remarkable maturity for a 24 year old and led the team to the playoffs, he got 172 raid points that season and was rated the league's 2nd most valuable player. He was hailed as a do-or-die specialist and was able to handle pressure situations very well.
He, to date, remains a very sincere player and takes no shortcuts either in fitness training or in life. He was rated the fittest player in the Indian Team by a Science Lab Fitness Test that the team took.
What makes him such a dangerous raider is the fact that he is so light on his feet and can change direction very quickly. He has a high thrust generation which allows him to spring faster to escape after attempting a touch, his speed and deceptive turns in direction are evident in his signature move, the running hand touch.
He is one among a few players like Ajay Thakur, Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari, Anup Kumar who have perfected this art. But what sets him apart from others is that he actually goes in deep towards a corner in order to lure defenders from the other corner towards him. With the amazing thrust he generates with his feet and his great escape abilities and turns, he is the leading candidate for multiple point raids.
His quick feet were always on the lookout for bonus points as well as toe touches. He also plays the right corner sometimes and brings crucial tackle points for the team. He was an inspirational leader who ably supported his teammates and his move to a very strong Jaipur Pink Panthers' only further strengthens this side and if he comes good for the team, the Panthers are a team to watch out for. He will also get to play under his favourite player, Anup Kumar and will be looking forward to raiding alongside him.
If there is one place where he can be conquered, it's the thigh hold or the reverse trunk hold. When his threat as a raider became evident, teams began planning on tactics to tackle him and few defenders executed the double thigh hold to perfection against him. This seemed to be an effective way to stop him but the problem with this was that the thigh hold is a skill which is really hard to perfect. Even if you have perfected it, the tackle has to come from one of the cover defenders because the corner defenders will have to go a long way to reach for the raider's thigh and by then the raider will be long gone.
When the cover defender executes the tackle, the raider is almost on the 'baulk' line which every raider has to cross for it to be a legitimate raid and it's close to the middle line. The timing on the thigh hold is very important because the defender won't get a proper grip and that close to the middle line, the tackle has to be perfect.
Deepak Niwas Hooda, with his deceitful swift turns and quick feet, alters the timing of the defenders and forces them into making advanced tackles where they shouldn't. He gets in the mind of the defenders and forces errors. Teams have to practice their skills and need to come up with a game plan for him because if unprepared, Deepak Niwas Hooda can single-handedly take down an opposition
He will look to continue his terrific form as a raider and win the Pro Kabaddi title this time with the Jaipur Pink Panthers.