The 13th edition of the South Asian Games commenced from 1st December 2019 and will carry on till 10th December at the picturesque setting in Kathmandu-Pokhara in Nepal.
Kabaddi action will begin from 4th December and culminate on 9th December as five nations - India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan compete for supremacy in South Asia. India have been the most successful nation at the South Asian Games throughout ten editions and has nine gold medals with Pakistan taking one gold at the 1993 edition of the Games.
The 12-member Indian team for the South Asian Games 2019 is composed of the following players - Deepak Niwas Hooda (C), Pawan Sehrawat (V.C.), Nitesh Kumar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sunil Kumar, Parvesh Bhainswal, Naveen Kumar, Pardeep Narwal, Amit Hooda, Surender Nada, Vikash Kandola, and Darshan Kadian.
With Iran and South Korea not a part of the South Asian Games, the selectors decided to go with a young squad led by the all-rounder Deepak Niwas Hooda along with Pawan Sehrawat as his vice-captain.
Many talented players missed out on a chance to be a part of this squad and we take a look at three such players who should have been a part of the Indian Kabaddi team.
#3 Baldev Singh - Defender
Bengal Warriors were one of the most exciting sides to watch in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 and much of the credit goes to their raiding sensation Maninder Singh and Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibaksh's heroics over the intense, long season spanning 24 matches.
However, the defensive duo of Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal deserve a lot of the credit as well taking up the mantle of handling the tackling duties for the Bengal Warriors. Both of them finished with tallies of more than 60 tackle points which was only second to the UP Yoddha pairing of Sumit Sangwan and Nitesh Kumar.
Baldev possesses the ability to use his raw power to inflict incredible back holds on the raiders catching them unaware and is fantastic with his support to fellow defenders. He had five Super Tackles and finished with six High 5s throughout the season. His presence at the right corner position would have provided a good backup option to Nitesh Kumar in the final squad.
#2 Sandeep Dhull - Defender
Surender Nada has been an everlasting presence on the left corner position in the Indian national Kabaddi team's defence over the last few years. The experienced Nada has been deadly with his ankle holds but the squad announced for the 2019 South Asian Games wears a young look and Sandeep Dhull could have fit right in as an able backup for Vishal Bhardwaj.
Sandeep Dhull is one such young defender who has shown his class at the left corner position over the past two seasons finishing amongst the top five scoring defenders. Dhull scored 67 and 73 tackle points in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 6 and 7 respectively.
Dhull possesses one of the best diving ankle holds amongst the current defenders and has done well for his employer team Indian Railways as well. His selection at the left corner position would have been highly beneficial considering the near future of the Indian Kabaddi team.
#1 Siddharth Desai - Raider
One player who has managed to set the Kabaddi circuit on fire with his exploits in the Pro Kabaddi League is Siddharth Desai from the state of Maharashtra. Siddharth Desai first came into the limelight after his debut performances for the U Mumba franchise in PKL 6.
Desai's outstanding showing in Season 6 made him one of the hottest prospects at the PKL Season 7 auction as Telugu Titans broke the bank for him getting him at a mammoth price of ₹1.45 crores.
The lanky Siddharth started slowly in PKL 7 but finished amongst the top five raiders in the PKL with 217 raid points in 22 games after improving throughout the season. Desai has also done well in the Senior Nationals for Maharashtra and the government competitions for his employers Indian Railways.
Desai has the brute strength to add his towering frame allowing him to outfox defenders using multiple skills and his ability to generate good speed makes him a dangerous raiding weapon. His selection could have provided an added dimension to the existing Indian raiding unit and provided him good exposure on the International circuit.Published 02 Dec 2019, 07:55 IST