In 1965, a boy was born to Ram Niwas Yadav and Gulabo Devi in Said Alipur, Mahendragarh, Haryana. Little did they know that he would go on to feature in a Sportskeeda scout report roughly 51 years later.
Ramkrishna Yadav, popularly known as Baba Ramdev, would go on to make waves in India with his mass yoga camps as he popularized the spiritual and mental practice not only around the country but also around the world. Besides yoga, which is his forte, Baba also excels in ayurveda, politics and agriculture, and has founded the Patanjali Group of Institutions.
Growing up, he studied yoga and the language of Sanskrit along with Indian scriptures in various Gurukuls. During his years as a student in the Gurukuls, he used to offer free yoga lessons to the people of the village. Soon he became a Sanyasi and adopted the name Swami Ramdev.
The world knows him as a master of yoga and an expert in ayurveda but there is one talent of Baba that the world doesn’t know of – football. The fans in Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi were lucky enough to witness Baba showcase his hidden talent. Clad in his trademark orange dhoti, Baba wore matching orange boots as he walked onto the pitch.
The charity match was played between parliamentarians and Bollywood stars and Baba gave his opponents a run for their money. As a consequence of his eye-catching performance, we have done a scout report on the man himself.
Style of play
After years of training in yoga, Baba has incorporated calmness and composure into his style of play. He is a one-of-a-kind player who can be utilized in any position on the pitch. To describe Baba’s style of play in one word, we can call it – spiritual. Baba affects the game from both on and off the pitch and hence his play earns the ‘spiritual’ tag. While he controls the game with his feet on the field, he controls the game with his mind, off it.
During the recent charity match, Baba was brought in as a substitute and he did not disappoint. Although he only got a single touch on the ball throughout the game, reports suggest that Baba refused to touch the ball only because he was playing against amateurs.
The 50-year-old’s biggest strengths are his flexibility and agility. He has performed quite a few skills moves, with many of them likely to feature on FIFA 17. Some of the popular moves include the ‘Pantajali Panenka’ chip, Baba’s bicycle kick, and the ‘Ramdev Rabonna’.
Rumour has it that Ronaldinho left the Premier Futsal tournament after he watched a clip of Baba performing his skills and challenging him to a freestyle challenge. The same clip was also sent to American business magazine Fast Company who then ranked Baba Ramdev 27th in its 'Most Creative Business People of 2016' list.
Despite his obvious strengths, Baba’s biggest weakness comes from the fact that he … um, well … HASN’T PLAYED FOOTBALL EVER BEFORE! Apart from that, Baba has a track record of taking part in many fasts to protest against the Indian government. The lack of a well-balanced diet could affect his game – according to experts – but this does not seem to bother Baba.
What next for Baba?
Many of Europe’s top clubs have Baba on their radar and are desperate to bring him in. Apart from being a fantastic addition to their squad, Baba’s signing would also help them gain a valuable sponsor in Patanjali. Borussia Dortmund, who have already made a number of signings this summer, are reportedly the favourites to sign Baba as they have agreed to change the name of their home stadium from Signal Iduna Park to Patanjali Park.
Baba has also told his close friends that he is looking launch his new range of footballs and football shoes before the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. The football is likely to be named ‘Patanjali Brazuc-asana’ while the football shoes will be called ‘Patanjali Hyperven-OM’.
The bottom line
Although his inexperience on the field may make him look like a risky signing, Ramdev’s never-say-die attitude would be a great addition to any team. This attitude was seen when he took part in fasts despite his knowledge of the Indian government’s reluctance to change.
Ramdev has gone on various fasts in protest against the corruption in the government, with some famous ones being the one in Ramlila Maidan in 2011 and the fast at the Ambedkar Stadium in 2014. He also plans to fast in an attempt to get Lionel Messi back to playing for Argentina.
Bottomline: football clubs should make their move to sign Baba quickly as his market value is growing exponentially at the moment.Published 27 Jul 2016, 13:11 IST