Even though his team had lost out to Gujarat Warriors in the final, posters, with his face beaming out, lined the road between Lahore and his hometown of Faisalabad. India were the runaway leaders, but Pakistan a comfortable second. The Iranians claimed silver at the last two Asian Games while South Korea, who had won a bronze at Incheon Games, became the only team to beat India in this style of kabaddi at the World Cup. So there was a fear we might be out of the medal tally altogether. That got people to start seriously thinking about what needs to be done.
This was a time of pre-partition India, hence Indians introduced the sport to the world.
We are just a week into the FIFA World Cup and it already feels as if football is the only sport that is played in the world.
But of course that is not true and you might actually be surprised to hear that there are actually a lot of action from the world of sports that is happening simultaneously.
One of them is the high-profile Kabaddi Masters which is all set to start today in Dubai. Even though you may not have heard of it, the tournament is actually one of the biggest Kabbadi competitions in the world and India are favourites to win the tournament.
The first match of the Kabaddi Masters will feature India vs Pakistan who are all set to lock horns in what can be a high-octane battle for supremacy. On paper, India is definitely the stronger team on paper, but Pakistan too have enjoyed a lot of success in recent times and could prove to be a tough competition for the favourites.
Pakistan has a good mix of young and experienced players and are fresh from their performances in the Super Kabaddi League which was the first professional Kabaddi league in Pakistan.
They are led by the experienced Nasir Ali and also have players like Kashif Razzaq and Waqar Ali who can turn the game on its head. Both Pakistan and India have a good mix of players who have performed really well in their respective leagues.
It will be interesting to see how the two teams lineup and whether they will be able to pick their best seven for the match. The match will begin at 8. In case you want to stream the match, Hotstar and Jio TV is where you need to log in.