U.P. Yoddha have the unenviable task of halting the Patna Pirates charge on Sunday when they take on the double defending champions at the Arena in Ahmedabad in the first match of the day. The Pirates have looked in ominous form in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 with their inspired skipper Pardeep Narwal leading from the front.
The man known as the Dubki King hasn’t seemed to miss a beat since his heroics last season that saw him not just lift the coveted VIVO Pro Kabaddi trophy but also bag the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. In fact, his play this year seems to have gone up a notch or two, and if his performances in Patna’s first three matches are anything to go, a hat-trick of titles seems to be very much on the cards.
If the remaining 11 teams are to nurture any hopes of bringing a stop to the Pirates juggernaut, surely containing the irrepressible Narwal will have to be their main objective. But how do you neutralise a threat no team has managed to thwart yet? For here’s a man who is not fazed by any situation regardless of the role he is donning, whether that may be captaining the side or leading his attacking line.
The youngster, who has taken to his new role of captaincy like a duck to water, spoke to prokabaddi.com about the added responsibilities he has this season. “It’s very important because the captain has to tell the players how to raid, then set the defence keeping in mind the raider from the opposition, so it is very important,” Narwal said.
He further demonstrated maturity beyond his years and explained how it’s mostly up to him to get his side over the line given that the coach is only granted two time-outs in a match. “Yes definitely [the captain’s role on the mat is crucial] because a coach can only come twice, so it is the captain’s responsibility to tell the players how to play or how to score in pressure situations,” he said.
Narwal has notched up a whopping 42 points in Patna’s three matches thus far, effortlessly registering three Super 10s with panache while exhibiting a new range of skills that has bamboozled opposition defences as much as his dubkis.
Those new skills manifest that a champion never rests in his quest for excellence, and it’s this desire and drive to constantly reinvent himself that sets him apart from the rest of the competition. Aware of the fact that he is the ultimate prize for opposition defences and that he needed to keep adding layers to his game to continue enjoying his dominance, Narwal said: “Yes I have prepared [the jump] specially for Pro Kabaddi because it’s a new season so I wanted to show something new.”
The addition of new skills to his attacking armoury was also acknowledged by his coach Ram Mehar Singh during the post-match press conference after their victory against Bengaluru Bulls in Nagpur. “In the third and fourth seasons, he was using the dubki a lot of times, so every team would say that he only uses dubki and that they just had to tackle him on a lower side. So, what we are doing this year is we are coming up with new skills. He also plays with a cool mind; he never becomes aggressive on the mat,” he said.
Whether it’s the jump, touch or dubki, the main priority for the opposition sides must be keeping Narwal off the mat as long as possible. Keeping him on the bench for most of the game will surely improve the challenging sides’ chances of victory. However, that all sounds well and good in theory but in practice is what the teams need to execute, if they are to stop the Pirates charge for the third season running.