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HomeSportPro Kabaddi: Who is Mohammad Nabibakhsh, the Iranian all-rounder who powered Puneri...

Pro Kabaddi: Who is Mohammad Nabibakhsh, the Iranian all-rounder who powered Puneri Paltan and Fazel Atrachali to PKL 9 final

Sooner or later in the course of the ongoing version of the Professional Kabaddi League, Puneri Paltan’s Iranian mainstays Fazel Atrachali and Mohammad Nabibakhsh sat down for a roommates interview. One likes the color black, the opposite prefers white. One’s room is as chaotic as his thoughts whereas the opposite likes to maintain every thing organised. However past these tiny variations, plenty of issues bind these two collectively – years enjoying collectively for Iran, compatriots in a workforce stuffed with Indians, and a possibility to work as one thoughts and two our bodies for one of the layered setups within the Indian Kabaddi ecosystem. 

Puneri Paltan roped in Fazel (INR 1.38 CR) and Nabibakhsh (INR 87L) for a mixed sum of INR 2.25 CR, including a potent prime tier to a well-structured youth system. By their Yuva Paltan programme, the franchise has unearthed plenty of abilities who’ve taken the league by storm – from Pankaj Mohite and Aslam Inamdar to now Akash Shinde. With its bases coated when it comes to kids who introduced in tempo and fearlessness within the workforce, Pune went into the public sale primarily on the lookout for a frontrunner. In Fazel and Nabi, it received two.  

The numbers don’t inform the total story – Fazel Atrachali says about Nabibakhsh

Raid factors: 21

Deal with factors: 11

Tremendous raids: 1

Tremendous tackles: 2

Because of the political and social unrest in Iran, the kabaddi gamers from the nation arrived for the league every week after it started. Within the two video games, the Paltan performed with out the duo, they confirmed tempo and battle however lacked composure and fast pondering in crunch conditions. After the Iranians joined the gang, it took a recreation or two for the brand new setup to heat itself up, however in the end completed with the Paltan in second place within the league standings. 

 “Fazel and I discuss to the workforce rather a lot throughout coaching time on find out how to good a transfer and find out how to use specific abilities particularly conditions. I concentrate on the raiders whereas Fazel focuses on the defenders,” Nabibakhsh tells Sportstar. 


Because of the sheer bench power the Paltan have, Nabibakhsh has not all the time began in each recreation. Nevertheless, one can’t hold the person out of motion. Whereas coach B.C Ramesh gathers his gamers in a huddle and discusses methods in the course of the halftime mark or in the course of the timeouts, Nabibakhsh and Fazel are having their very own dialog in Farsi with Nabi animated by means of all of it, exhibiting Fazel mat positions or re-enacting physique holds.  

Nabibakhsh has not all the time began in each recreation. Nevertheless, one can’t hold the person out of motion.
| Photograph Credit score: Lavanya Lakshmi Narayanan

Fazel, who’s sitting beside Nabibakhsh in the course of the interplay, chimes in.  

“On social media and the pressers, individuals hold saying, ‘this participant has just one level, why is he within the workforce’ about Nabi. Both they don’t watch the match totally, or don’t perceive kabaddi. His contribution can’t be quantified in factors. However for the sake of everybody seeing his worth, I’m glad he scored eight factors in a recreation within the final week of league matches.”

Fazel has 51 sort out factors to his title and has been his dominant finest when Nabibakhsh has been on the mat to help his blocks and dashes.  

“What does a nook defender want?” Fazel asks. 

 “One of the best second man. Indian raiders – they’re star raiders. They don’t assist in protection. See Naveen (Kumar), Arjun (Deshwal), and Maninder (Singh). They’re the primary raiders and don’t contribute in protection. So all defenders battle with discovering good second males since you’re invariably paired with a raider that can assist you. I feel Nabibakhsh is the very best second man in PKL as a result of he’s completely satisfied to adapt to your wants. He can do ankle holds, dives, and thigh holds; he’s all the time able to assist you and that’s the neatest thing for me, firstly. I can’t say that about anybody else in my time in PKL,” the Paltan skipper provides.  


One other one that understands what Nabibakhsh actually brings to the desk is coach Ramesh, who has managed him in Bengal Warriors too. In season 7, the Warriors had a dominant season led by Maninder Singh. Nevertheless, the facet confronted its greatest impediment when Mani suffered an damage forward of the playoffs. Captaincy tasks went to Nabibakhsh who rallied his foot troopers and finally gained Bengal its maiden trophy.  

Captain Maninder’s injury meant the mantle was passed on to Nabibakhsh who eventually helped Bengal win its maiden trophy

Captain Maninder’s damage meant the mantle was handed on to Nabibakhsh who finally helped Bengal win its maiden trophy
| Photograph Credit score: Nabibakhsh/Instagram

It’s not for nothing then that nearly each Paltan workforce member will agree that Nabi is coach Ramesh’s favorite. 

 “I grew to become his favorite after successful that title solely,” Nabi says sheepishly.  

Regardless of having the identical coach, life within the Pune and Bengal setup are as totally different as chalk and cheese, the Iranian factors out. 

 “In Bengal, the workforce was stuffed with quite a lot of skilled gamers. In Pune, there are such a lot of kids. I’ve made so many pals right here on this squad. However in Bengal, we had been free. I may typically put in 15-20 raids. However in Pune, the technique may be very managed, someday I get just one raid, typically I don’t get to raid in any respect,” the all-rounder provides.  


For somebody who is usually determined to raid, Nabibakhsh’s abilities this season have shone extra in protection. 

 One of many standout moments of this season was when Nabibakhsh together with Mohit Goyat pulled off an unbelievable tremendous sort out on U Mumba’s Guman Singh earlier within the season. Guman, a raider with tempo and power, received caught in Goyat’s ankle maintain. Nabibakhsh got here in for assist and the duo pulled Guman again deeper into the Paltan half. Goyat’s maintain quickly slipped however Nabibakhsh tightened his grip nearly locking Guman’s leg in opposition to his chest. After what felt just like the longest 15 seconds, Guman gave up.  


 That is hardly stunning given Nabibakhsh is a wrestler first.  

“My wrestling coach, Ebad Daliri, was a participant within the Iran nationwide kabaddi workforce and he advised me to provide kabaddi a shot. I’ve been a kabaddi participant now for 15 years. My first recreation for the nationwide workforce was right here in India, within the World Cup in Ahmedabad. I then performed the Asian Championships, the Asian Video games after which Professional Kabaddi,” he remembers.  

“I nonetheless go for wrestling twice every week when I’m in Iran. However I like Kabaddi higher. In wrestling, I’m entering into the mat alone, in kabaddi I’ve six individuals with me. I do like raiding higher however I really feel happier if I get a excessive 5 (when a defender will get 5 factors or extra),” Nabibakhsh provides. 

Nabi and Fazel will be key to Pune’s fortunes as Aslam and Mohit were ruled out of the semifinal due to injury.

Nabi and Fazel can be key to Pune’s fortunes as Aslam and Mohit had been dominated out of the semifinal resulting from damage.
| Photograph Credit score: Lavanya Lakshmi Narayanan


Regardless of the success he has discovered right here in India, Nabibakhsh’s kabaddi exploits aren’t celebrated a lot again dwelling in his household. 

 “The truth is, my household doesn’t like kabaddi. My father retains asking why I’m going to India for kabaddi. They are saying they miss me for 3 months and so he retains saying don’t go. They don’t hold monitor of my kabaddi stuff an excessive amount of,” Nabi says. 

 “Different households like their youngsters to develop in sports activities and grow to be champion. My household is completely satisfied if I’ve a job and have a quiet life. They needed me to have a authorities job,” he provides.  

When requested if he’s trying to marry, a really swift and vehement no is available in response. That is regardless of a joking point out of Nabibaksh on the lookout for an Indian spouse.  

“I need to be single eternally,” he chuckles. 

Fazel then interrupts to disclose that Nabibakhsh’s rising legion of followers typically professes their love for him in his Instagram DMs.  

“Every day he has so many messages from feminine followers who say they love him. What’s vital is to see who he loves,” the skipper provides. 

 Nevertheless, this search must wait because the Paltan enter the final leg of their bid for a maiden Professional Kabaddi League title. Fazel will look to his most trusted second man, whether or not on the mat or on the bench, to be by his facet and pull off his heroics as soon as extra. 

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