Name: Sandeep Narwal
Key move: Sandeep is a spirited player and his all-round abilities make him an asset for every team he plays in. In the second season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), Sandeep rose to the occasion for Patna Pirates following Rakesh Kumar's unavailability and helped them reach the semi-finals, surpassing everyone's expectations. The all-rounder has one of the most efficient blocks and torso holds in the game and his aggression will come in very handy for India at the World Cup.
Past record: A part of the gold medal-winning Indian team at the 2016 South Asian Games, Sandeep is another 'Narwal' from Sonipat who has taken the PKL by storm, the other being Pardeep Narwal.
Hailing from the land that has given India many kabaddi legends, it's hardly a surprise that Sandeep took to the game as a kid. He recalls watching the top players play the game in his village and how it inspired him to emulate their success.
Sandeep may not have matched the success of his idols yet, but being part of the glamorous league has certainly given him the stardom that his predecessors lacked. The 23-year-old acknowledges the life-changing turn the sport has gone through in the past few years.
Having shot to prominence in the second season of the PKL, Sandeep was adjudged the best defender in the third when his Patna Pirates side won the league in stunning fashion. The Sonipat all-rounder was impressive throughout the season, but his performance in the semi-final win over Puneri Paltan was one of the best defensive displays in the league's history. Sandeep completely neutralised the threat of Manjeet Chhillar, Ajay Thakur and other Paltan raiders to propel Patna to the final. However, he wasn't retained by the Pirates for the fourth season and moved to Telugu Titans where he continued his good form and scored 42 tackle points.
Sandeep's overall record makes for fine reading as the all-rounder has racked up a total of 332 points in 62 matches. Sandeep though faces competition from Mohit Chhillar, the PKL's most expensive kabaddi player for a place in the right corner position, but his ability to fit in any defensive position and good raiding skills could see him grab a starting spot in the Indian team at the World Cup.
Sandeep has already tasted success with the Indian team at the start of the year and added a PKL title to it. A World Cup winners medal now would sum up a brilliant year for the dynamic kabaddi star.
With inputs from Star Sports press release.