Interview with Sandeep Narwal: "We are sure that Patna Pirates will finish in top 4"
Patna Pirates' stand-in captain Sandeep Narwal talks about Pro Kabaddi, his childhood, dream and much more
Sandeep Narwal, one of the best young all-rounder player in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. 22-year-old Sandeep scored more than 150 points in his Pro Kabaddi career so far. In the absence of Rakesh Kumar, he has got the chance to captain his side. He is the youngest captain in the League.
While speaking to SportsKeeda, young all-rounder Sandeep relived his journey in kabaddi so far and also spoke about captaining the Pirates.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. How did you start your kabaddi career?
I started my kabaddi career from junior level. I played for Haryana in a junior state level tournament. After that, I represented Haryana state at junior national level. I started my kabaddi career from state level only.
Q. How is the kabaddi scene in your village?
We have lots of national level players and Arjun Awardees from our village. Kabaddi is the main game in my village. In our village, the Khap Panchayat makes the decision whether a boy would study or be involved in sports. If someone is good in studies, he go for studies and if someone is good in sports, he goes for sports.
Q. You have been playing kabaddi since a long time. How did your family support your game that time?
My family has been actively involved in kabaddi, producing a few players, who played at the national level. That was the reason why my family never stopped me from playing kabaddi.
Q. Kabaddi is an extremely physical sport. What kind of reactions did you face from your loved ones when you got injured early in your career?
My mother used to scold me when I got injured. She used to treat my injury. I played state and national level just like that. I also used to get gifts for my family members when I used to win. Now, my family is very happy After that family is also happy now.
Q. What difference you find between Star Sports Pro Kabaddi and kabaddi played at other different levels?
This is very different in terms of speed. This is very fast and some rules are also different. The biggest difference is of bare land ground and mat ground (Pro Kabaddi uses the mat).
Q. What difference do you find in the bare land ground and mat ground? Which one is better according to you?
I did not find much difference because I had already played kabaddi on mat. After nationals, I went to SI Hostel, Gujarat. There I played on the mat court for the first time. I practiced on mat court there. Both are really different. If some player comes on mat court directly, there are 99 percent chances of injury. According to me, mat court is better.
Q. What has changed in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi in these 2 years?
In the first season, no one thought that kabaddi will be received so well. Last year, the defences of every team was weak at some or the other point. Taking points in raiding was easier last year. This year, all the 8 teams have made a significant improvement in that respect and raiding has become tougher now.
Q. You got a chance to captain Patna Pirates in the absence of Rakesh Kumar. How do you feel about the added responsibility?
I cannot think of anything bigger than this. I got selected in the team directly from junior level. Just after one season I got a chance to be a captain of my team. This is a big chance for me.
Q. Do you think that this can help you at senior level and Indian team?
This is a very big chance for me to prove myself. If I play well here, then the Federation will think that ‘he is good we need to take him in the team’. This has no relation with being a captain. If I play well, then only will I can get a chance to play in the Indian team.
Q. What is the importance of being a captain in kabaddi?
The captain needs to look after the entire team. If there is some weakness in defence, then It is the responsibility of the captain to strengthen the team by substituting players. If there are only 3-4 players left, then the captain needs to send good raiders in to get points and revive players.
Q. You have got a chance to play with a big player like Rakesh Kumar. How has this been helpful to you?
This is a very big thing. In the first season, I came in as a defender and when I started raiding, Rakesh Kumar guided me a lot. He used to tell me the opposition’s weak points and he also taught me how to take points. He always guided me about how to escape the defenders by flipping and jumping over them.
Q. After the Patna leg, the team has revived its campaign. What would you like to say about that?
We lost the first match of the home leg, but we were not under pressure. We knew that the pressure would mount on us if we lost other matches.
Now, all the players are excited to play. We are fully prepared; we were searching for the right combination in the beginning and now, I believe we have the perfect combination. We are sure that we will finish in top 4.
Q. What is your ultimate dream?
I think that now kabaddi should be included in the Olympics. If so, then I would like to win an Olympic medal in kabaddi for the country. I want to play for India internationally.