Patna Pirates’ decision to release Pardeep Narwal ahead of last year’s auctions raised eyebrows aplenty. The three-time champion chose to off-load the Pro Kabaddi League’s (PKL) most successful raider of all time in the quest to assemble a fresh squad with the aim of a record fourth title.

Patna Pirates got three raiders - captain Prashanth Kumar Rai, Sachin Tanwar and Guman Singh - for a combined total of 157.5 lakh. Still 7.5 lakh lesser than what Pardeep cost UP Yoddha.

While Prashanth has done a great job on marshalling his troops to the final, Sachin and Guman have shouldered the raiding duties with style. Mind you, this is when Monu Goyat, at one point the PKL’s most expensive player, is also in the squad. The raiding duo has delivered in clutch situations and is yearning to have the trophy in their room on Friday - they are room-mates after all.

While Sachin played two finals earlier with Gujarat Giants, this is Guman’s maiden appearance in the summit clash. Guman, the elder of the two, admits he’s a tad nervous. “I am a little nervous because it’s my first final, but I am confident of doing well. Our coach has given me a lot of confidence, he’s told me to play freely and not worry about the result.

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The senior players like Prashanth also motivate me by saying I’m the best at what I do,” he tells  Sportstar .

This has been Guman’s breakthrough campaign. He was a part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers squad last season where he made just three appearances and a grand total of 10 raids. However, he was acquired by Patna Pirates after he put up a good show at the senior nationals while representing Chandigarh.

In fact, Guman’s association with coach Ram Mehar Singh goes back a long way. Guman has been training at Singh’s academy in Bhiwani for over six years now. “The coach has always believed in me and I was really happy when he took me in the team. I always dreamt of playing at Pirates because they’re three-time champions. I want to repay his faith in me, “ he says.

Guman also sings praises of his Iranian teammate Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh, who has taken the League by storm. “He makes a huge difference in our team. The team is under control when he is on the mat. He is one of the most important players in our team.  Raider bhi darte hain  (raiders fear getting tackled by him.) His presence on the mat is very important for us,” he adds.

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This has been Guman’s breakthrough campaign. He was a part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers squad last season where he made just three appearances and a grand total of 10 raids. However, he was acquired by Patna Pirates after he put up a good show at the senior nationals while representing Chandigarh.

 

Sachin, Guman’s roommate, hopes Lady Luck favours him in his third PKL final. “I played two consecutive finals and I was within touching distance of the trophy but did not win it. I hope things will be different this time around,” he says.

“I hope we play the same way as we did in the semis. We will aim to keep Naveen Kumar off the mat for as long as possible. We’re raring to win our fourth title.”