Pro Kabaddi 2016, Season 4: The real Rahul Chaudhari finally turns up for Telugu Titans
It took three matches for him to arrive but the Rahul Chaudhari of the first two seasons did finally arrive against Bengal Warriors on Monday night in a way only he could have. Bengal Warriors were emphatically routed and could manage only as many points as Rahul Chaudhari and Sandeep Dhull combined to produce.
Chaudhari and Dhull orchestrated the first victory of the season for Telugu Titans in their 4th match. Despite winning with a bonus point, the team has an uphill task ahead in the 4th season as they are just above the now eighth-placed Bengal Warriors, albeit with one match less.
But the team must be pleased with the return to form of skipper Rahul Chaudhari, who looked circumspect early in the season. It was perplexing to not see him start in the seven in the crucial tie against Jaipur Pink Panthers as the Titans decided to go with the likes of Sukesh Hegde and Nilesh Salunkhe. Although talented, the two were never going to replace Rahul Chaudhari.
The 23-year-old has become a heartthrob in the 2 years that the country has been exposed to the excitement of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. He has enthralled one and all with his swift raids. His suave looks have also earned him the label of the poster boy of Indian Kabaddi.
The boy from Binjor in Uttar Pradesh had lit up the first season when he collected 151 raid points at a jaw-dropping average of 10.79. Leadership duties proved a little too heavy for the youngster and consequently saw him losing his form in the second season. He battled health issues in the third season too when he lost 7 kgs at one point in the tournament.
But Telugu Titans were ready to forget those performances and start afresh with Chaudhari in Season 4. Retaining him was the first step to let the youngster know that he was much valued in the team setup. The Titans management went a step further when they threw the captaincy armband once again to Chaudhari ahead of season 4.
The team, just like their captain started slowly and with three defeats in the first three matches were staring down the barrel. The team had lost close games and especially demoralizing was the defeat to Patna Pirates when the brilliance of Pardeep Narwal put to shade Chaudhari’s heroics as the team went down in spite of dominating the first half.
The team had an onerous task at hand against Bengal Warriors for a defeat would have made it extremely difficult to make it to the semis. But thankfully for the Titans, Rahul Chaudhari was in is elements and started off from where he had left against in the Titans’ failed attempt to conquer Pirates from Patna the previous day.
The match was all but over when Chaudhari in the 32nd minute got the team 5 points where his raid helped to inflict an all out on the Warriors. At that point, the Titans were at 26, twice the Warriors score of 13.
Credit must be given to Sandeep Dhull who was phenomenal last season with Dabang Delhi despite the team’s lacklustre season. Dhull is finding his feet in the Titans set up as well and yesterday’s performance, where he secured 8 points for the team through tackles, will make sure he is a permanent fixture in the side this season.
A lot will depend on these two young men to lead the Titans’ charge and help them revive their campaign. They’ve to string a few wins together soon if they want to remain in contention for a place in the top four.