Name: Manjeet Chhillar
Key move: Manjeet's most lethal moves include the dash, block and a thigh hold. With brute strength, Manjeet often brings down a raider in just one heave. To add to it, he has an excellent sense of timing and more often than not pounces at the right time.
Past record: Part of the gold medal-winning Indian teams at the 2013 Asian Indoor Games, and 2014 Asian Games. He is also an Arjuna Awardee.
Manjeet Chhillar is among the top faces of kabaddi in India. Hailing from the Nizampur in Haryana, he is one of the greatest role model in his native place.
However, kabaddi was not where his heart lied initially. Manjeet was a wrestler to start with, but an injury to his nose forced him to turn to kabaddi. It proved to be a blessing in disguise. Dedicated as always, Manjeet's transition from wrestling to kabaddi had it's own challenges. To be eligible for selection to the junior Indian kabaddi team, Manjeet lost 12kgs in a month, his brother had told Sportskeeda.
With gold medals at Indoor Asian Games and Asian Games, Manjeet Chhillar was a champion, but he became a national icon only after his exploits in the Pro Kabaddi League. With over 400 points in the four seasons, Manjeet is the only player in the league to average above 100 points per season. He is also the only player to feature among top ten defenders and top ten raiders in the first three editions of the league. Having won the Most Valuable player in season two, Manjeet has been an able leader throughout the four seasons. Initially with Bengaluru Bulls and then at the Puneri Paltan.
It doesn't require great effort to get Manjeet riled up during a kabaddi match and some see it as his falling, but his tendency to put his hand up and deliver at the very crunch moments makes him a true great. The 30-year-old all-rounder is often the first to take charge if a match is on a knife edge. He takes it to himself to win his side the match and more often than not he succeeds.
68 points in season four was disappointing by Manjeet's high standards, thus making him more dangerous at the World Cup. Expect a backlash as there is no way the man from Nizampur won't raise his game for such a big tournament. Selecting him in a team and perhaps also in the starting seven seems pretty much a no-brainer, considering his match-winning abilities. And if ever India find themselves in a spot of bother, they will have a lion-heart in Manjet Chhillar to see them through.
First Published On : Oct 7, 2016 13:14 IST