New Season, Captaincy and more – Read what the star raider Naveen Kumar has to say in an exclusive chat with Khel Kabaddi

The eighth season of the Pro Kabaddi League is set to begin soon, with the auction of players for this season set to take place later this month. Earlier, each team retained a selected few players for the upcoming eighth season. Pro Kabaddi League team Dabang Delhi has decided to retain its star player Naveen Kumar Goyat, who has done well in the last two seasons. Against this backdrop, the Khel Kabaddi team interacted with Naveen in an exclusive interview.

Khel Kabaddi – Naveen, first of all congratulations to you. Dabang Delhi has retained you for the upcoming season of Pro Kabaddi League. 
Naveen – Thank you.

Khel Kabaddi – What is your reaction to the confidence that the Dabang Delhi team management has shown by retaining you in the team?

Naveen – This is a matter of great pride for me. The big thing is that the team from which I started my journey in the Pro Kabaddi League has retained me. The Dabang Delhi team management, the team, all the coaches are all in good tune with each other. Being part of such a team is a great feeling. The Delhi team suffered defeat last season in the final due to minor errors. So now I had the feeling that I should get a chance to play the final match with the same team again and I am happy that the team has retained me.

Khel Kabaddi – You did well in the sixth season and you did even better in the seventh season. So what are your plans for the team as a star player this season?

Naveen – Win Loss are part of the game. But we also need to understand that no team wants to lose. Now new players will also join the team and from that the team will be formed. So we will decide our plan on what the team will be like. Right now we’re focused on staying fit. Our focus will be on improving our past performance.

Khel Kabaddi – How do you prepare yourself for the eighth season? What can you tell your fans about your fitness preparations?

Naveen – It is very important to have fitness and maintain it. Be it physical fitness or mental fitness. Players need both of these very much. It is equally important to have a good diet. Right now I’m paying attention to this. I will work harder on this when the team gathers together for the camp. The atmosphere in the camp is different. The practice there is also different. In addition, with Covid everywhere around, one has to be careful following protocols. I’m paying attention to that too.

Khel Kabaddi – Kabaddi was hit biggest due to Covid. As a result, kabaddi players did not get much match practice. In other sports, many of the players suffered injuries when they returned to the field to play matches after a long absence. What special care do you take to prevent such injuries?

Naveen – Injury can happen to anyone and anytime. But if you pay attention to fitness and diet, you can reduce the chances of injury. In Kabaddi one does not need have a complete team every time. Even a lone player can easily focus on his own fitness. If a player is a raider, he can work hard on his movement. If he is a defender he can work hard on his skills alone. Everyone is going to the gym as well. So it was just a matter of maintaining the fitness you had.

Khel Kabaddi – You played in the Senior National Championships in April and earlier in a tournament in Madhya Pradesh. Your performance in both these tournaments was very good. Now the fans will expect to see the same performance of Naveen. Will they get to see this performance?

Naveen – If the fans have good wishes for me, if they have blessings, if they have faith, I will definitely be able to repeat this performance. I will justify their trust in me. The support of the fans is very important to me. If required, I will work twice as hard but will not disappoint my fans.

Khel Kabaddi – Other teams will watch your old videos and plan against you. How will you prepare for it?

Naveen – Just like they watch my videos, our team also watches their videos. If I was getting tackled against a team, we would know how it has happened. For Example, we would now know how Mumbai’s Fazal tackles Raider with agility from behind or any other defender tackles the raider. 

Khel Kabaddi – Chandran Ranjit had a good performance as your support raider till last season. He will no longer be part of the team. So who do you think will play the role of Chandran this season?

Naveen – Vijay is a good all-rounder in our team right now. He had done well with Patna before Delhi. Apart from him, our new dynamic raider Neeraj Narwal is also there. He has put a lot of effort into himself. I believe in both of these. Once the auction is over, some good players will join the team as well. It will be of help too.

Khel Kabaddi – You have done well in the last two seasons. Apart from Pro Kabaddi, you have also played well in other tournaments. If the team management decides to give you the captaincy based on your performance, are you ready for it?

Naveen – Captaincy also required experience. But if the team management makes such decision, I am ready for it. I am ready to take this responsibility for the team. Only when I accept the captaincy will I be able to learn exactly what needs to be done. I will make decisions depending on the situation on the field at that time

Khel Kabaddi – Some players lose their own performance when they take over the captaincy. What if something like that happens?

Naveen – Of course. The captaincy affects the player for sure. I am new to this field. These ups and downs in the game keep happening. But with the support of the team management and the coach, I will be able to do well.

Khel Kabaddi – You have become one of the leading kabaddi players not only in Delhi but also in India. You receive huge support from the fans wherever you go. What can you say about this?

Naveen – Of course I’m proud of it. Wherever I go, people say, “He plays kabaddi for India.” It’s definitely satisfying when fans say that. Wherever my father goes, he gets to hear, “He is Naveen’s father.” I am very proud of the fact that my family gets  honored because of me. 

Khel Kabaddi – Which Raider do you think your competition will be in the upcoming season of Pro Kabaddi League?

Naveen – Pawan Kumar Sehrawat

Naveen Kumar Goyat
Debut in Season 6 

Season 6 – 22 matches 177 points

Season 7 – 23 matches 303 points

22 Super 10s

Not out percentage 85.15%