Exclusive interview feat Ajay Thakur
Pro Kabaddi League’s season eight is just few days away. Former Indian Kabaddi Team Skipper and now Dabang Delhi KC raider Ajay Thakur is counted as one of the best raiders in PKL history. He has played for Bengaluru Bulls (PKL 1, 2), Puneri Paltan (PKL 3, 4) and Tamil Thalaivas (PKL 5, 6, 7).
On 23rd Dec Ajay with his new team Delhi will face a challenge of Puneri Paltan. Team Khel Kabaddi had an exclusive conversation with Ajay Thakur. He gave his insights on upcoming PKL season, his career and many things
Questions and Ajay’s answers are as follows:
Q: Whenever you have represented India or PKL team you have played well. But when this all was happening Covid pandemic hit the world. Kabaddi players had to struggle a lot in lockdown and post lockdown period. Share your views about this particular thing.
A: That time I was on my duty in Bilaspur as a DSP. We were all doing Covid duty in public. But I used to take out time for practice. That region is on the hill so I could go for running, doing exercises and all stuff.
Q: In Covid times you were performing Police on the field. Have you had thoughts like I have to play Kabaddi also?
A: Had no other option. Duty was must. But I was managing both Kabaddi practise and duty too.
Q: How do you see Pro Kabaddi League in Covid times?
A: As we were told we are quarantined for some days. Currently all team players are staying in the same hotel. No one is allowed to go outside. PKL has managed it so well that everybody will stay safe and play well.
Q: What was the reason of not participating in senior nationals?
A: As I am a DSP and at that time I was on duty in remote areas. Our Prime Minister was on visit in Himachal Pradesh and that time I had to do my duty there. Due to this I was unable to tell my “whereabouts” to NADA during Senior Nationals. But it was a protocol that the Police officer on duty when PM’s visit cannot share his location to anyone. After this NADA concluded I deliberately did this thing. As a result they put me under the category of ‘undisciplined’ and hence I was unable to play the nationals. But later this misunderstanding was solved when I showed them the details of my duty.
Q: What were your feelings when you were released by Tamil Thalaivas?
A: If they had retained me they had to pay me around 90 lakhs which might was not possible for them. Every team thinks a different way. They might have felt so obviously they prefer to release me. But I am not bothered about is. My work is to play for the team whichever I am in.
Q: Now you are a part of Delhi team what are you feelings about it?
A: I am very happy about this. Last season the team finished as a runner up. This time I and Manjeet Chhillar want to win the PKL trophy. We both are playing together since long time. We played PKL final but never won the medal. So it’s our dream to win the PKL trophy this season.
Q: Team has many experienced players like Joginder Narwal, Manjeet Chhillar, Sandeep Narwal and you. Also there are youngsters like Naveen. Do you think it is a perfect combination?
A: Yes. It is a perfect combination.
Q: How do you think the experience which senior players bring in will be utilised?
A: Experience will be good for the team. If Naveen is dismissed we can immediately take a point so that he does not sit outside for the longer time. Apart from me there are Ashu, Vijay so that Naveen will be revived soon.
Q: Do you think there will be negative impact of ‘too many stars’ in team team?
A: I don’t think so. Experience always brings positive side. It is beneficial for the team.
Q: Whenever people talk about Delhi team naturally they talk about Naveen. It has become like an equation. What do you want to say about Naveen?
A: He is one of the finest raiders in India right now. I wish he practice hard and performs better than what he has done in last season. Now he has got experience.
Q: You have a great fan following. How you were connected to your fans in the lockdown?
A: I used to share photos and videos on my Instagram and Facebook profiles regarding my duty, practice and other things. Whenever there was a special message by PM or CM to all the prominent athletes and I was invited I made sure that I send his message to everyone around the country. Also we had arranged some live sessions for fans interaction.
Q: You were part of Tamil Thalaivas. Now you will play for Dabang Delhi. How are your relations with team management?
A: Currently we are very busy with our schedule. The season is few days away. There is no such time in a player’s life to think about these things. With this busy schedule our relation is limited to asking and taking essential things. So there is no misunderstanding. The relations are good.
Q: You are there with Naveen in the raiding department. Do you think Delhi team should improve in their defense?
A: Nothing like that. We have good bunch of young and experienced players. Manjeet and Jeeva are there as a covers. Joginder and Sandeep are there as corners. So there is no such need of improvement.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Q: DSP Ajay Thakur or Indian Captain Ajay Thakur?
A: Indian Captain Ajay Thakur
Q: Which is the memorable moment in your Kabaddi career?
A: When I won 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Q: Who is your favourite Kabaddi player? Anup Kumar or Manjeet Chhillar?
A: Anup Kumar as a raider and Manjeet Chhillar as a defender.
Q: Memorable experience with the team- Bengaluru Bulls, Puneri Paltan or Tamil Thalaivas.
A: Tamil Thalaivas.
Q: Any message for the fans?
A: On behalf of Dabang Delhi KC team I want to urge all the fans and supporters that please support us. We will give our best. Stay in touch with us through Tv and social media.