With the highest raid points in Season 5 of the Pro Kabaddi League, Pardeep, only 20, gives a hard time to the defenders while on field.
A little above than a week for Patna Pirates’ victory and their captain still as grounded as ever. Extremely shy yet charismatic, Pardeep, gets chatty with us and works his magic on us.
What developed your interest in the game?
Almost everybody in my village played Kabaddi. I was very young when I watched my uncles play and developed interest in the game and hence started playing. I was in school when I got on the field.
How has the game changed over the years?
Everything has changed in the game now. Earlier Kabaddi was played only in sand but now it is played on mats. Initially it was played only in villages but now it is everywhere.
Why only Kabaddi and no other sport?
My entire village played Kabaddi. People who have now turned old, my seniors, everybody was into the game and this is reason my interest in the game deepened.
How does it feel to be the top scorer and number one raider in the fifth season of Pro Kabaddi League?
I felt so good when I ranked as the top scorer in the league. All the records were created by me. It was an overwhelming feeling.
Do you think anybody can break the records that you have created?
All records are made to be broken (laughs). The ones that were made initially by other players were broken by me. Mine as well might be broken by some other player, I can’t really say.
How do you feel about Kabaddi gaining so much popularity?
Earlier nobody knew what Kabaddi was. Everybody only knew cricket. But now every household chants Kabaddi. Every little kid also knows the game now.
You are called the Dubki King. What point in the game did you realize that this was your signature move?
I realized that pretty early on. When I used to play in my village under my coach I learnt how to perform this technique and got the hack of it.
What credit do you give fitness in your life?
Fitness is very important for an individual. Without fitness there is nothing that you can do.
When you started playing was there family support?
Yes. They supported me immensely from the very beginning. In case I did not practice one day or was at home, they used to scold me and send me to the field to practice. They took immense care of my practice sessions. And now they are so happy after all my achievements. I raised their name, they are extremely happy.
One quality that is similar between on field and off field Pardeep?
I stay the same on and off field. I can not pretend and be two different people.
If ever given an opportunity, would you consider doing an advertisement shoot?
What can I say right now? It might happen. But if I’m offered something like this, I’d definitely like to consider.
When you are off the field what does a typical day of yours look like?
My entire day goes around my friends (laughs). I spend my entire day with them.
You are really young now, would you ever like to change your profession or would stay in the game?
Definitely not. A job is necessary though. God forbid if I ever get an injury and I am unable to play is when I will consider taking a job.
Do you recall any fan moment of yours?
A lot of them recognize me now. I went to a wedding recently and there was a tournament of Kabaddi happening nearby. They got to know I was close by and they came to call me and I went and they were all very happy.
Is there any difference while playing nationally and internationally?
Yes, most definitely. While playing national we have only a few teams from within India. But when we play internationally we have teams from other countries as well, which creates all the difference.
Now that PKL is over, what would you focus on?
I’m now focusing on the tournament to be held in Iran, wherein the Indian team is now headed.
Do you think you will cross Nitin Tomar’s bid worth Rs. 93 lakhs in the next season?
I think I have made that much money in this season only. All my accolades have amounted to same amount. Let’s see what happens in the next season.
Any message you would like to give your fans?
I just want them to keep supporting and loving me and keep watching me as well.
Any message you would like to give to young players who want to join the game?
I’d only like to say that keep practicing hard and focus on your diet. It is very important to eat healthy. And refrain from malpractices in the sport.
Where do you see the game in the next ten years and yourself in that scenario?
I see Kabaddi in the Olympics in the next ten years. And we will also sore high along with the game.