Star Sports Pro Kabaddi: 10 things to know about Indian kabaddi and Telugu Titans star Sandeep Narwal
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has been a great platform for some of India’s finest young talents to showcase their skills on the mat. One of the players to have used this platform to the fullest has been Telugu Titans’ star Sandeep Narwal.
It did not take a long time for the former Patna Pirates player to impress. The 23-year-old Sonepat boy, currently with the Telugu Titans, has been one of the most outstanding defenders of the league. With the kind of confidence and resourcefulness that he has exhibited so far, there is no doubt that he will be one of the biggest young stars to carry the hopes of the nation.
Here are 10 things that you need to know about the best defender from Season 3:
1) Sandeep Narwal was born on April 5, 1993 in the town of Sonepat, Haryana. Attending numerous kabaddi matches during his school days helped him develop a deep passion towards the sport. While he was in school, OP Narwal, an IPS officer with Haryana Police, put Sonepat on Indian kabaddi’s map when he represented the country at the Asian Games. Since then, the sport has reached stratospheric heights in his hometown and Narwals from Sonepat have been a regular feature at the PKL.
2) After starting to play at the age of 8, he soon began collecting medals at the age group levels. His talent got noticed and success at the school level was instrumental in getting him a berth in the Haryana team.
3) During his initial days, Sandeep was helped a lot by Jagdish Narwal, whose son Deepak Narwal plays for Dabang Delhi. Thanks to his training tips, the young Sandeep sharpened his skills further. His career got a big boost when he was selected by a Sports Authority of India (SAI) trial in 2010 and was subsequently sent to Gandhinagar, where he developed into an all-rounder.
4) With improved game and confidence, the young Sandeep was chosen to represent India at the Junior Asiads the following year – His first taste of international kabaddi.
5) He has been playing in the PKL right from its inaugural season in 2014. In the first three seasons, he was with the Patna Pirates, whom he even captained midway through the second season to guide them to the semi-finals. Ahead of Season 4, he moved to the Telugu Titans after they bought him for Rs. 45.5 lakhs, making him the second-most expensive player in PKL history.
6) Being an all-rounder, it was easy for him to effortlessly switch from a raider to a defender. The stocky Sandeep, who began his PKL career as an attacker, is now more known for his sturdy grappling skills. And the shift proved to be a right decision as he played a crucial role in bringing the Patna Pirates their first ever PKL title last season. His mind-boggling 53 successful tackles were rewarded with the ‘Best Defender of the Tournament' prize at the conclusion of Season 3.
7) PKL not only brought him into prominence, it also fulfilled his wish of playing for India when he made his national team debut at the 2016 South Asian Games.
8) His next aim is to get a chance to represent the country at the Asian Games. He also hopes that kabaddi will eventually be given the status of an Olympic sport and says he is determined to win the gold medal for India when that day comes.
9) He also credits his vast improvement and meteoric rise to JoginderNarwal, who is currently in the Puneri Paltan squad. For many years now, Joginder has remained as an inspiration for Sandeep. With both playing in a similar position as a left-corner defender, Joginder’s valuable inputs have aided in the 23-year-old flourishing further.
10) He is a big fan of Abhishek Bachchan (the owner of Jaipur Pink Panthers) and playing in PKL gave him a chance to meet his favourite star.
“My favourite is Abhishek Bachchan and he was always there at all the matches. So it was good meeting him,” he said about his fanboy moment.