India's predicted starting line-up for Asian Championships
The Asian Championships are all set to take place in Iran from the 24th of November and the Indian team will start as favourites in the tournament. The coaches will definitely face a problem of plenty with a plethora of talented players available for selection, each a cut above the rest in their own unique manner, especially considering their stellar displays in this year's Pro Kabaddi League.
Here, Sportskeeda predicts the starting line-up for the Indian team at the Championships:
#1 Ajay Thakur (Raider)
He will ideally be the captain of the side and spearhead the attack in the capacity of the lead raider. He has a reputation for performing on the global stage and was the star when India clinched the Kabaddi World Cup last year. The tall and lanky Himachali will look to leave rival teams hapless with his swiftness and agility. He is coming off a few bright performances in the domestic league where he picked up a mammoth 213 points with 5 consecutive Super-10 outings.
#2 Pardeep Narwal (Raider)
The talismanic raider has given the word 'rampant' a whole new definition with his raiding prowess and the numerous records that he set in the recently concluded fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. He picked up a total of 369 raid points which included 19 Super-10 outings and one stellar record of 34 raid points in a single match. He has a varied range of skills from the frog leap to the dubki which he unleashes according to the demands of the situation.
#3 Rohit Kumar (Raider)
The man from Services is quite effective on the mat when it comes to raiding and will be a major force to reckon with for the opposition defence given his success rate. His calm and composed style of play often fetches him positive results while his knack for thriving under pressure will be an added advantage for the team, if they decide to play on the third raid strategy in certain encounters, particularly against Iran.
#4 Deepak Hooda (All-rounder)
Touted as one of the best all-rounders in the sport of kabaddi, Deepak Hooda has quite a few tricks up his sleeve, including the ankle hold and the running hand touch. Thus, his ability to perform on either side of the mat makes him a valuable asset for the Indian team, adding the much-required depth and balance to the side.
#5 Surender Nada (Left Corner Defender)
9 High-5s and 80 tackle points in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 are a testament to the force that is Surender Nada. A menacing presence in the left corner position on the mat, Nada has his own unique skillset with ankle and thigh holds that allow him to pin down the best of raiders in the most compelling way. He will be the guiding force for the defensive structure of the Indian side since he is the most experienced campaigner in that department.
#6 Sandeep Narwal (Right Corner Defender)
Some followers of the game might argue that Sandeep fits into the shoes of an all-rounder rather than an exclusive defender, however, given the kind of attack in the side, Sandeep will have an increased role to play in defence. His brute strength and might are showcased when he executes lethal body holds and blocks to stop the raiders in their tracks. He will look to combine with Surender Nada in the far end to give the Indians an edge.
#7 Surjeet (Cover Defender)
Another man from the Services, Surjeet finished as the second most successful defender in the last season of Pro Kabaddi League with 76 points to his credit. He has an impeccable sense of timing when it comes to catching the raider unawares, striking at the opportune moment with a strong body block or dash which pushes the player off the mat. Thus, Surjeet will play a major role in the core of the national team.