Dubki King Pardeep Narwal has been in prolific form for Patna Pirates all through three seasons he has been with the side. He has been the side’s highest scorer for the past two seasons and looks good to repeat the feat this time as well. He was also the Season 4 Most Valuable Player and a pivotal part of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi-winning Patna unit in Seasons 3 and 4.

This season though things are a little different for young Narwal. He is captaining the Patna side for the first time and is the side’s primary raider for the season. In an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com, he admitted to the pressures of this season. “Yes, there is pressure on me as the main raider of the side. If a raider makes mistakes, then the defence is likely to follow suit so we have to perform consistently. We need to practise a lot harder and strengthen our defence if we are to maintain our performance over the entire season,” he said.

The raider was the first to reach 200 raid points in a season and is currently the league’s top raider with 274 points. However, Narwal is insatiable and wants more. “I am very happy to have reached 200 raid points especially since I was the first raider to do so. However, my target is to reach 300 raid points and I am confident I will be able to do that by the end of the season,” he reckoned.

Patna coach Ram Mehar Singh has in the past minced no words while stating how important Narwal is for their side and reiterated that point while speaking to prokabaddi.com as well. “Pardeep’s role in the team is very important and it is not just us who think so but the opposition teams as well. He is capable of turning the game around in the span of 10 seconds,” said Singh, “If Pardeep is on the mat we know we can win even if we are trailing by a big margin. There is no substitute for Pardeep. Even if he gets tackled a few times, he still doesn’t give up his resolve which I think is his biggest strength.”

Singh was also appreciative of Narwal’s role as the team’s captain at just 20 years of age. “I have seen many captains who get angry at players who aren’t doing so well and interfere in the coach’s strategy by asking for players to be changed but Pardeep never does that. He focuses on his own game and how he can perform better under the given circumstances. He fulfils the responsibilities which are handed to him, which is a huge plus for him,” said Singh.

So what are the first-time captain’s expectations from his side this season? “I am very happy that the team is performing well so far. The defence has also started doing their job. We have been champions for the past two seasons and this time we will try for a hat-trick. That is my expectation from my team this season,” replied Narwal with great confidence.

After finishing second in Zone B behind Bengal Warriors, Patna face Haryana Steelers in Eliminator 2 on Monday.