Introduction of Pardeep Narwal:
Pardeep Narwal: In a game of Kabaddi, there are quite a few moves used by the raiders to evade the defenders during their raid. Perhaps the most popular of these signature moves is the Dubki. The source for the name of the move is unknown. Perhaps it refers to the swimming technique where a swimmer paddles underwater to evade attention. Perhaps, it refers to a capsizing boat, playing in the high tide among the turbulent waves. Whatever be the source of inspiration for the move, its effectiveness is unparalleled.
In the Dubki, the raider reacts to the defenders crowding him by ducking down to the mat, thus avoiding their primary clutch. He then flexes his muscles and changes direction to thwart the defenders and crosses the line. Like a flexible boat evading the clutches of life-threatening waves, the raider manages to reach safety, which, in terms of Kabaddi is the center line that separates the two halves of the court. Sometimes, the raider requires two Dubois to escape the grips of the opposition, twisting and turning his way out of the enemy territory.
The Dubki is extremely effective if done to perfection and is a treat to the eye. Successful completion of the move almost always warrants gasps of admiration from the crowd in the stands or spectators watching from the comforts of their homes. This signature move has been done to perfection by an Indian Kabaddi Athlete and he has been so good in the execution of the move that he has been named the Dubki King! However, people around the Kabaddi circuit know his better as Pradeep Narwal, the phenomenal Indian Kabaddi player.
Pradeep’s dubki has an inherent charm to it, it’s a thing of beauty and almost always, the opposition crumbles down to his move. The Indian has taken the Kabaddi world by storm of late, but his start was as simple as it can get.
Early Life of Pardeep Narwal
Pradeep Narwal was born on 16th February 1997 at Rindhana, a small village in the Sonipat District of Haryana. He belonged to a Hindu Jat family and as part of local culture, picked up a love for the game of Kabaddi. He was quite good at it and soon made a name for himself. From the dusty lanes of Haryana to the National Kabaddi team of India, Pradeep Narwal’s journey was extremely tough, but the young man was relentless in his pursuit of excellence.
Even though Kabaddi is the National Game of India, just a few years back, there wasn’t too much exposure for Kabaddi players in the country. The Indian Kabaddi team had its fans, but somewhere, the country needed a platform for its up and coming star, for its budding athletes to find their feet. That arrived in the form of the Pro Kabaddi League and it was through this tournament that Pradeep Narwal found his first break.
Pardeep Narwal In Pro Kabaddi League:
The Pro Kabaddi League was introduced in 2014. It was based on the same format that had found great success in the Indian Premier League. The model was based on franchises that competed amongst each other for the grand prize. Teams comprised of Indian as well as foreign players. Pretty soon, India was taken over by Kabaddi fever, as every day new stars were unearthed. Among those raw gems was Pradeep Narwal.
Pardeep Narwal joined the Bengaluru Bulls in the 2015 season, and even though chances were limited, managed to impress the crowd. His style of play, his confidence and his attitude on the field made him quite a few fans. Pradeep had 6 appearances in his debut season and managed 19 raid points. Even though the season ended in disappointment for his team, Pradeep had caught the eye and had secured a move to Patna Pirates ahead of the next season.
Pardeep Narwal | Finding his form with Patna Pirates
Despite the fact that Pradeep Narwal had failed to break into the scene with the Bengaluru Bulls in the second season of the Pro Kabaddi League, there was no lack of suitors for the Haryana boy during the player auctions for the third season. Pradeep was picked up by the Patna Pirates because the franchise had seen potential in him. He might have gathered paltry raid points, but it was clear that Pradeep had a big future ahead of him. Here was a young man who had the potential to become the best in the world and all he needed was a proper opportunity. That arrived with Patna Pirates in season three.
The third season of the Pro Kabaddi League was played at the start of 2016 and it was a tournament that saw the rise of Pradeep Narwal. The Haryana boy was fantastic for Patna, as they bulldozed their way to the final. Part of the reason for the team’s successful run to the final was Narwal’s excellent raiding. It was here that his famous dubki came into the fore and people began to recognize it as his signature style. However, in the finals, Patna Pirates were up against a formidable U Mumbai side, who were the reigning champions and had reached the final of the tournament for all the three editions so far.
But Patna had Pradeep Narwal raiding the opposition and Manjeet Chillar defending the base. In a closely contested game, Patna got the better of their opponents and won the game by 3 points. Pradeep Narwal, who had accumulated 116 raid points and 5 tackle points from 16 games, was adjudged the best raider as well as the best all-rounder of the tournament. His time in the Kabaddi circuit had finally arrived. Pradeep had finished the season with 10 super raids and 5 super 10s and had written his name in gold.
Second season with Patna and defending the trophy:
The season 4 of the Pro Kabaddi league was held in 2016 itself, from 25th June to 31st July. Pradeep Narwal picked up from where he had left off at the start of the year and was once again phenomenal for his team. His dubki was now as famous as the man himself and he was also being referred to as the “Dubki King”. Success had brought with it a fan following and healthy popularity for Pardeep Narwal , who once again managed to lift his team to the final.
This time, Patna Pirates faced the first champions of the Pro Kabaddi League, Jaipur Pink Panthers in the finals. In another entertaining final, Patna finished on top once again, becoming the first team in the history of the tournament to defend the title. Patna Pirates had gathered 37 points while Jaipur Pink Panthers had 29 points, enabling Patna to win the final by 8 point margin. Pradeep Narwal had a fantastic tournament once again, recording 131 raid points and 2 tackle points from 16 games. He also had 3 super raids, 5 super 10s, and 1 super tackle. However, it was the Telegu Titans defender turned raider Rahul Chaudhari who won the best raider and the best allrounder award.
It would have been easy for Pradeep to be disappointed despite having helped his team retain the title. He had been narrowly deprived of personal accolades. Even if the Haryana boy was disappointed, he did not let it show to his face, preferring instead to strive harder for perfection. And as always, hard work found its reward soon.
Winning the Kabaddi World Cup:
Pardeep Narwal continued his love affair with trophies in 2016, but this time, he united the Indian Kabaddi circuit. He was a part of the India team that won the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup held at Ahmadabad. The home side defeated Iran 38-29 in the final to lift the trophy. Pradeep ended the tournament as the fifth top raider with 47 points. He was also India’s second highest raider after Ajay Thakur, who registered a tournament-high 64 points and was adjudged the best raider of the World Cup.
Third Season with Patna Pirates and redemption:
The 5th Edition of the Pro Kabaddi League was a huge affair. The tournament that had featured 8 teams so far, had expanded to include 12 teams, as 4 new teams from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat entered the fray. The player auctions saw Patna retain Pradeep Narwal once again and why not? The Haryana boy had become an asset to his team, helping them to 2 back to back championship trophies. Patna was not going to let Pradeep leave, preferring instead to make him one of the highest paid Kabaddi players in India.
The 5th Season of the Pro Kabaddi league started from 28th July 2017 and was a hugely entertaining affair. However, it was largely a Pradeep Narwal show again. The Patna player was in inspired form and opponents had no answer to his various forms of Dubki. No matter how hard the opposition tried to counter his signature move, Narwal almost always found a way to get past the defenders.
As expected, Patna Pirates made it to their third consecutive finals, riding on the Pradeep Narwal master class. Interestingly, it was the first time that they would not face a previous champion in the final. Instead, new boys Gujarat Fortune Giants were their surprise opponent on the night. Sadly, the tournament debutants had no answer for the might of Pradeep Narwal. The Haryana boy took 19 points on the night, as Patna picked up 55 points to Gujarat’s 38 and won their third consecutive trophy. Pradeep was adjudged the man of the match, but it was not all. He had played a record-breaking tournament, amassing a massive 369 raid points from 26 games, leaving all the competition behind. Narwhal had 18 super raids and 19 super 10s. No one even came close to him and as such, Narwal ended up winning both the Best Raider and the Best Allrounder awards.
The Asian Kabaddi Championship:
Pardeep Narwal was fast rising through the ranks in the Kabaddi world and had become a force to reckon with in the Pro Kabaddi League. His form though was not limited to the tournament alone, as the Haryana boy also found success with his National Team. Pradeep was an important member of the Indian National Kabaddi team that won the Asian Kabaddi Championship in 2017.
2018 Pro Kabaddi League and disappointment:
The 12 teams returned to the limelight for the 6th season, however, Patna finally had a dent in their fortunes after staying up so long. They finished 4th in the tournament, as Bengaluru Bulls become the champions for the first time. Pradeep Narwal had a decent tournament though, as he managed 216 raid points from 20 games. However, it was neither enough to take his team to the finals, nor enough to see him retain his top raider prize, which went to Pawan Kumar Sehrawat.
However, the year did bring success to Narwal, as he was a part of the Indian team that managed to win the 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters. The Asian Games in 2018 was a disappointment though, as the Indian Kabaddi Team could only return with a Bronze medal.
Pro Kabaddi Records and Looking Forward:
Pradeep Narwal’s rise in the Pro Kabaddi League has been phenomenal and his success in the tournament is unprecedented. No player in the history of the tournament has won 2 Best Raider and 2 Best Allrounder Awards so far. Narwal also has the record of the highest raid points in a single season, which was set when he scored 369 raid points in season 5. It must be noted here that the person second on the list was 150 points behind him at the end of the season!
Pardeep Narwal also has the record of the highest points, 34, won in a single game, as well as the most points, 8, won in a single raid in the tournament. In the 5th Season of the Pro Kabaddi League, Narwal had an average of 14.19 raid points per game, which meant that he scored a super 10 in every game on an average! He is also the only player who won the Vivo Pro Kabaddi’s Most Valuable Player in back to back seasons.
The Haryana boy has so far appeared in 85 matches in the Pro Kabaddi League and has earned a total of 865 points. He also has a phenomenal not out percentage of 77.74. He has a raid strike rate of 58.56% and has registered 38 Super Raids and 44 Super 10s in the tournament. He averages 10.09 raid points per match on an average, which is absolutely outstanding.
As India gears up for the 7th Edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, all eyes will once again be on Patna Pirates Skipper Pradeep Narwal. Anyone who has watched him play will know that the young man from the dusty lanes of Haryana has the ability to kick into an even higher gear and blow away his opponents once again.