Facing a giant of kabaddi like Ajay Thakur can be tough; especially when you are playing the first game of your VIVO Pro Kabaddi career. Such is the authority the raider commands on the kabaddi mat that even the most experienced defenders find it difficult to hold their own against him. However, the bravery of freshness sometimes overshadows the wisdom of experience, and such was the case in the U.P. Yoddha’s opening game of Season 6, where a rookie Narender not only managed to send Thakur to the bench twice but also helped his team secure a win by scoring a High 5.

“I wasn’t thinking much,” Narender recalled while reflecting on his thought-process in the game, in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com. “I was just focused on doing my job irrespective of the opposition.”

Narender played an important part in a number of tackles and also managed to tackle veteran Jasvir Singh and CPO Surjeet Singh along with Thakur. He played according to the team’s strategy, waiting for the right moment to grab his man and give his team a point.

“We had a few strategies against their raiders,” said Narender. “We wanted them to come deep into our half, looking for points and then tackle them. This strategy worked for us and we were able to get the victory.”

The most impressive thing about Narender’s style was the variety he brought to his defensive game, using moves from the Thigh Hold to the Dash to good effect.

Perhaps the most impressive tackle was the one on CPO Surjeet Singh where he managed to surprise the raider, who had just taken his eyes off the defender for a fraction of a second. But even that small opportunity was enough for Narender, who locked a Back Hold on Singh in the blink of an eye as he was retreating, and brought him to the ground before he realised what hit him.  This ability of Narender to strike when the opponents least expect it make his an extremely dangerous defender to deal with.

Narender considers his strength to be the Double Thigh Hold; a move where the defender tackles the raider by holding both his thighs, thus incapacitating the lower half of his body. He put the move to good use against Tamil Thalaivas as it accounted for three of his five tackle points on the night.

“It is a skill that is only applied after careful consideration of the speed and the movement of the incoming raider,” narrates Narender.

Being an aggressive kabaddi player, Narender’s team will hope they get more strong performances from him as the season progresses.