Meraj Sheykh is one of the most nimble Kabaddi players in the world and one of the finest foreign players in Pro Kabaddi. Famously known as Magician Meraj, he is celebrating his 32nd birthday today. Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the Kabaddi player:
1. Meraj hails from the Sistan region of Iran and was born on 26 May 1988. Meraj started playing Kabaddi from an early age but was also a professional wrestler before moving to Kabaddi full time.
2. Meraj rose to fame during the 2010 Beach Asian Games where the Iranian team went on to win the bronze medal. He was also a part of the tournament in the 2012 and 2014 editions where the team won gold medals.
3. The year 2014 also saw Meraj participating in the Asian Games in South Korea where Iran won the silver medal. Meraj was the top performer for his team during the tournament.
4. With his consistent performances, Meraj was handed the captaincy for the Iranian men's Kabaddi team. He led the team to the finals of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in Ahmedabad. Although the team lost to India in the finals, Meraj was praised for his captaincy and his performance.
5. Meraj started his PKL career with Telugu Titans in the second season of the league. In the second half of the tournament, he was named the skipper of the team and this he became the first foreign player to lead a Pro Kabaddi franchise. He played two seasons with the Titans.
6. In Pro Kabaddi Season 4 (2016) Meraj moved to Dabang Delhi KC and was handed the responsibility to lead the team in the next season (PKL 2017). With 75 points to his name that year, Meraj remained the most successful foreign player of the season.
7. Season 5 of PKL was the most successful season for Meraj as he went on to score a total of 104 points to become the most successful all-rounder that year.
8. With the pressure of captaincy hindering in the natural gameplay of Sheykh, he gave up the captaincy of Dabang Delhi KC to fully focus on his play.
9. Meraj has been a consistent foreign player of the league and has scored a total of 404 points (350 raid points and 54 tackle points) in six seasons.
10. Meraj is known for his signature move of the scorpion kick where the raider turns towards the mid-line and then kick his leg behind to get a touch on the defender. The move requires a substantial amount of flexibility as well as quick reflexes.