One of the biggest talking points from Pro Kabaddi Season 10 was the emergence of raider Ashu Malik as a rising star in the PKL circuit.

Born on January 9, 2002, and hailing from Sonepat, Haryana - a region known for producing top kabaddi talent - Ashu Malik was always destined for greatness in the sport.

Fueled with an unyielding determination and passion for kabaddi, Ashu Malik first started catching the eyes of scouts through his participation in tournaments like the Yuva Kabaddi Series and K7 Kabaddi Tournamеnt.

Catching the eyes of scouts

His performance in the 2022 Summer Edition of Yuva Kabaddi Series, in particular, made waves in the kabaddi fraternity after he finished the tournament as one of its top performers with 295 points - 281 raid points and 14 tackle points - in 26 matches at an average of 11.34 points per game.

Ashu played a pivotal role in guiding his team Murthal Magnets to the Yuva Kabaddi Series 2022 Summer Edition crown, notching up 11 Super Raids and 25 Super 10s along the way.

Needless to say, his solid performances in such tournaments fast tracked him into the Pro Kabaddi limelight as he was signed by Dabang Delhi K.C. as a New Young Player (NYP) for Season 8.

Ashu Malik’s first season with Dabang Delhi K.C. saw him acclimatise to the demanding, high-octane, and action-packed environment of Pro Kabaddi. He scored 59 points in his debut season and was crowned Pro Kabaddi champion as Dabang Delhi K.C. won their maiden PKL title.

Announcing himself on the PKL stage

However, it was only in Season 9 that we saw the true glimpses of Ashu Malik’s potential on the mat. Playing as a category B raider, he scored 158 points - 141 raid points and 17 tackle points - and registered six Super Raids and five Super 10s in the process.

Despite playing the role of a second raider for much of Season 9 to complement Naveen Kumar in the Dabang Delhi K.C. setup, there were times when Ashu Malik led from the front, especially in the absence of the Naveen Express who spent some time away from the mat on the treatment table.

That said, it was only in Season 10 when we truly saw Ashu Malik’s emergence as a Pro Kabaddi superstar after Dabang Delhi K.C. effectively used their Final Bid Match (FBM) card to sign him for INR 96.25 lakh at the player auction. 

Tasked with taking on the mantle of both skipper and lead raider for Dabang Delhi K.C. in the absence of the injured Naveen Kumar, Ashu Malik didn’t just rise to the challenge but excelled while doing so in Season 10.

Evolving into his team’s star and go-to player

Ashu Malik led by example as he finished the season as the joint top raid points scorer in PKL 10. He scored 276 raid points, including 15 Super 10s and nine Super Raids - the joint most by any player in Season 10.

He averaged 12 raid points per match in Season 10 and also recorded a stunning haul of 20 raid points against Telugu Titans in match 103 of PKL 10.

Understandably adjudged the Best Raider of Season 10, Ashu Malik couldn’t quite lead Dabang Delhi K.C. to the PKL title although he played a major role in their journey to the playoffs.

Unperturbed by failure, Ashu Malik isn’t someone to let setbacks have a major impact on him as he showcased during the recently concluded 70th Senior National Kabaddi Championship where he led Haryana to the title.

Dubbed Haryana’s hero after his exploits in the tournament, which saw him score 56 raid points, Ashu Malik can be expected to return to the PKL stage even more determined to get his hands on the coveted Pro Kabaddi trophy once again.

His well-rounded approach to kabaddi and ability to contribute on both ends of the mat makes a valuable asset to any team. 

Furthermore, he’s only likely to get better as he enters his prime years and will be waiting for a call to the national setup following his Senior National Kabaddi Championship showing.

No longer playing second fiddle to anyone in any team, Ashu Malik has now emerged as the star of any team that he graces and is likely to just get better with age and experience, which is something opposition defenders will be wary of and not something they will be keen to come up against.

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