Manjeet Chhillar's charge in season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi
The Star Sports Pro Kabaddi express finally came to a halt after a month long topsy-turvy ride. Anup Kumar’s U Mumba prevailed over Manjeet Chhillar’s Bengaluru Bulls in the final to wipe out bitter memories of last season, when U Mumba lost to the Pink Panthers in the final.
But, despite the glory going U Mumba’s way, it was the captain of the fallen finalists, Manjeet Chhillar who was adjudged as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Although it meant little for him having lost out on the bigger prize, there was hardly a player more deserving of that award than the Bengaluru skipper.
Keeping the fight up till the very last minute in the final to being the difference in the games that got the Bulls there, Manjeet led the Bulls by example not just in terms of skill, but more so in terms of the heart which he showed at various times this season.
Manjeet overcame health problems to lead the Bulls
Very few know, but the man called the best all rounder in the world, risked his health big time in order to ensure victory for the Bengaluru Bulls. Diagnosed with typhoid in mid-season, Manjeet was advised to take a good rest by the medical staff, but he refused to let it bother him or the team and battled the disease emphatically both on and off the pitch.
Manjeet revealed about his illness to Sportskeeda after the Bulls’ last group stage game against the Puneri Paltan in Pune. “I am suffering from typhoid since the last few days. You could have seen that I was coughing throughout the game against Pune. My doctors have advised me to take rest, but I feel that I can rest later once the tournament is over and I must play the two games that are left,” Manjeet Chhillar had said before the start of the playoffs.
Such is his commitment and dedication that he didn’t feel right to sit out of the game against Puneri Paltan, in spite of it meaning nothing to the Bulls. “Every game is important. We want to go to the semi-finals on a winning note, so I decided to play. I actually enjoyed myself a lot in that game,” the Bengaluru Bulls skipper said.
With 105 points in total (67 raid and 38 tackle points), Manjeet has been a great asset for the Bulls in both halves of the court. Another typical sign of a great athlete that Manjeet portrayed was that he always produced the good when it mattered the most for the Bulls. Manjeet Chhillar scored eighteen points in two back to back games in Bengaluru which booked the Bulls’ passage to the last four.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
Even in the semi-finals, Manjeet was instrumental in taming the mighty Telugu Titans’ raiders and produced a great raid under pressure at the death to seal the game for the Bengaluru Bulls. It takes huge courage to step forward in such pressure situations and Manjeet Chhillar seemed to thrive on those.
Showing great responsibility as a captain, Manjeet stopped Rahul Chaudhari in his tracks in the buzzer raid of the semi-final, thus sacrificing himself so that the marauding Titans raider got no chance to pick up the two points he needed to scrape a draw.
He was no different in the final when he made all kinds of efforts to get the Bengaluru Bulls home, but unfortunately for this great warrior it wasn’t to be his day. He may have gone down, but his pride remained untouched and unscathed.
When many would have fallen flat after a diagnosed typhoid, Manjeet Chhillar tackled it as he would tackle a raider and a kept a firm hold over it. There was some greater force within the great man which didn’t allow the typhoid to affect him, in fact, it only made him stronger.
For the champion that he is, the disease was a challenge that he relished and like every other challenge it was one which he overcame. Manjeet may not have etched his team's name on the trophy for the time being, but he has done well to etch his name in the hearts of millions of admirers all over the country.
Manjeet Chhillar’s dedication and commitment makes him one of the greatest sporting role model in the country. Hailing from a small town of Nizampur, Manjeet’s path to success is a textbook for young athletes to follow. There may be players who may match him skill to skill, but when it comes to character, Manjeet lifts himself above the rest.