The 13th edition of the South Asian Games 2019 is being held in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara from 1st December 2019 and will continue till the 10th December.
Seven nations - Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and India will be taking part in multiple categories of the competition in about 26 different sporting disciplines for supremacy in South Asia.
One of the sports that will receive a lot of attention is Kabaddi in South Asian Games 2019, which is set to begin the league stage matches for both the Men's team and the Women's team from 4th December. The final matches for the gold medal will be held on 9th December.
Indian Men's, as well as Women's Kabaddi team, will be expected to make a clean sweep of the gold medals considering the historical pedigree of the country's performance at the South Asian Games event. Indian men have won nine out of ten gold medals over the years whereas the women have won two out of two gold medals since the sport of Kabaddi has been introduced at the South Asian Games.
The Indian Men's team will be led by Deepak Niwas Hooda along with Pawan Kumar Sehrawat as his vice-captain. We take a look at three crucial reasons why Deepak Niwas Hooda is the right choice as the Indian team captain.
#1 The best all-rounder in Pro Kabaddi League history
Deepak Niwas Hooda is one of the few players in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) history who has been an active part of all the seven seasons so far since the inception of the league back in 2014. In the inaugural auction, he was picked up by the Telugu Titans for a sum of INR 12.6 lakhs, second only to the biggest buy, Rakesh Kumar.
Over the years, Hooda has grown to establish himself as the best all-rounder in the PKL history performing consistently for whichever franchise he has been a part of. After two seasons with the Telugu Titans, he moved to the Puneri Paltan for three seasons and kept his high level of performances going, especially the raiding component. He was always finishing amongst the top raid points scoring players and his performances led to the Jaipur Pink Panthers breaking the bank for him at the Season 6 auction picking him up for INR 1.15 crores.
In seven PKL seasons, Hooda has amassed a mammoth 943 total points in 123 matches, with 856 of them being raid points and 87 being tackle points. He has managed to score 31 Super 10s with an astounding 20 Super Raids as well. On the defensive end, he has picked up 8 Super Tackles and even managed to add 4 High 5s to his name. This has made him the best all-rounder to ever grace the mat in the Pro Kabaddi League providing him with a good understanding of both the aspects of the game to lead the side well.
#2 Experience of leading teams
The experience of having played a lot of seasons with some of the most experienced and seasoned players at his initial franchises - Telugu Titans and Puneri Paltan - made Deepak Niwas Hooda grow in stature as he took the responsibility of raiding for the side as well as making important defensive contributions for the team with his tackles.
After a few seasons, Deepak Niwas Hooda was handed the responsibility of captaining the Jaipur Pink Panthers at a time when the team was struggling in the second half of the PKL Season 6. Hooda embraced the opportunity and raised his game to a great level scoring consistently and marked a positive home leg outing for the Pink Panthers.
His maturity to deal with the pressures of captaincy and the ability to keep delivering on the mat for the team makes him an ideal choice to take up the mantle of leadership for the Indian team.
#3 Ability to double up as backup in the defence
The Indian Kabaddi team have picked a strong 12-man squad for the South Asian Games 2019 in the aim of coming back with the gold medal yet again. The coaches have gone with the tried and tested pairing of Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal at the cover positions.
The cover pair has worked extremely well for the Gujarat Fortunegiants in the Pro Kabaddi league leading the side to two finals in their first two seasons in the league.
However, India has no legitimate backup to the two cover defenders in the worst case that any of them gets injured or suffers from poor form. At such a juncture, Deepak Niwas Hooda can step in and play the cover position as he possesses the ability to do well there.
He has picked up a lot of tackle points in his career and easily performs in the cover position providing the team with an added dimension of his abilities to utilize for the team's benefit.Published 04 Dec 2019, 03:16 IST