Pro Kabaddi League has produced one of the finest talents in the past five years for India. These talented lads have made it to the top-most level and have made everyone proud. Here is a story of a young defender from Himachal Pradesh who became one of the youngest players to become the captain of a side in the Pro Kabaddi League. Let us have a look at the rise to fame of Telugu Titans’ Vishal Bhardwaj.
Date of Birth
1st January, 1997
Una, Himachal Pradesh
Gold Medalist Asian Championship 2017
Teams Played for
Vishal Bhardwaj Biography
Vishal Bhardwaj was born on 1st January 1997 in a village in Una district of Himachal Pradesh, India. He comes from a middle-class family and was completely born and brought in the same village. Unlike his other friends who were passionate about cricket, Vishal developed an interest in the game of Kabaddi at a very young age. He started playing Kabaddi in 8th standard at the age of 12 or 13. Vishal represented his school team in all the Inter-school Kabaddi tournaments. After his brilliant performances at the school level, he entered into his college with the same intensity towards Kabaddi.
Looking at his exceptional capabilities at college-level Kabaddi, Vishal was sent to Bilaspur for better professional training. He lived in Bilaspur, which is almost 1,600 km away from his hometown in Himachal Pradesh. However, this didn’t affect Vishal’s concentration as he was very confident of making it through the highest level. Vishal performed consistently and was selected for the Junior National team in 2016. He represented India in 3 major Junior Kabaddi tournaments and even won gold in one of the championships.
Telugu Titans (2016- Present)
Vishal Bhardwaj was picked up by the franchise Telugu Titans in the Pro Kabaddi League Auctions of 2016 for ₹6 Lakhs. However, he didn’t get enough opportunities and appeared only for two games. In season 5 in 2017, performed exceptionally well and was the backbone of the defence of Telugu Titans. Vishal completed his duty as a defender with full responsibility and became the 3rd most successful defender of the season with 71 points to his name in 22 appearances! He scalped tackle points at an average of 3.22, which is relatively exceptionally good by any defender’s standards in a single season.
Telugu Titans Captaincy in 2017
As Vishal stood up to his responsibilities with utmost maturity in 2017, he was made the captain of Telugu Titans in season 6 in 2018 at a tender age of 21! Although Telugu Titans have never won a title, they have always been one of the contenders to lift the PKL trophy. Vishal was consistent in this season as well and added 60 tackle points for his side. However, Telugu Titans lacked an overall team performance and hence had a poor outing. In season 6, they weren’t even able to reach the semi-finals as they stood second last in their zone comprising of 6 teams. In 2019 Auctions, Vishal was retained by Telugu Titans with a hope that he successfully gets a maiden title for his franchise this year.
Vishal Bhardwaj impressed the Indian selectors with his fantastic season for Telugu Titans in 2017. Hence, he was called up for the Indian senior squad and was made part of the team which represented India in the Asian Championship 2017. India defeated Pakistan in the final as they won the gold medal once again. Let us hope to witness more of Vishal in the Indian colours on our TV screens in the coming future.
Playing Style of Vishal Bhardwaj
Vishal has always been a very calm and composed athlete. His strength, agility and quick decision making has made him one of the star defenders of the league.
Vishal’s signature move has been the ‘Ankle Hold’. Ankle Hold is a move which has been specialised this 22-year-old young defender. Ankle hold is one of the most iconic moves by a defender in the game of Kabaddi. In this, the defender uses his firm grip and tremendous strength to grab the opposition raider by the ankle and pull him back as soon as possible so that he doesn’t touch the mid-line.
Interesting Facts about Vishal Bhardwaj
- Vishal was the 3rd most successful defender in PKL Season 5 with 71 tackle points to his name.
- Vishal’s favourite Kabaddi player is Tamil Thalaivas’ Ajay Thakur, who is his local hero as even he belongs to Himachal Pradesh.
- Vishal wishes to become a police officer one day.
- Vishal is currently pursuing his B.A. from a government college in his hometown of Una.