Patna Pirates has emerged as the most successful VIVO Pro Kabaddi franchisee in its five seasons of existence. After bolstering their squad in the 2017 auction and retaining the talismanic Pardeep Narwal, Patna bagged a hat trick this season by going past a formidable Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final, thanks to a fabulous all-around performance all through the playoffs stage.

In a team studded with stars and youngsters, one debutant who made his presence felt on the mat was 20-year-old defender Manish. Coach Ram Mehar Singh used Manish as a super-sub throughout season 5, sending him to pillar the defence whenever stars like Vishal Mane or Sachin Shingade failed to control proceedings.

The youngster, who was picked up by Patna in the auction due to his impressive performance in national tournaments, paid back his coach’s faith by picking up 22 tackle points, complete with 17 successful tackles this season.

Manish’s older sibling led him to the world of kabaddi, where he thrived over the years to become a part of Patna’s historic season. “My elder brother was a kabaddi player and an Asian Games medallist,” he shared. “I started playing when I was in the eighth standard. My brother and uncle trained me.”

The glitz and glamour of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage has not deterred the young defender as he relishes the aspect of being a part of something so grand. “There aren’t any difficulties. It really feels good to be a part of such a big league. All the new rules are also really interesting,” he said.

Representing India and winning gold in the Asian Games has been one of Manish’s biggest dreams. So far, he has used the experience he gained over the years to better Patna's bench strength and has been making a strong case for himself at the national level. When asked if the pressure of playing alongside some of the biggest names of the sport leads to any kind of pressure, he concluded by saying, “It really feels great to play with them. Whenever I get a chance to perform, I try to give my 100 percent on the field. In a match, there are no senior or junior players, as everyone is equal.”