Dadaso Awad's journey as a Maharashtra kabaddi player to a team owner
The Indian Premier League, initiated in 2008 has over the years inspired several franchisee based cricket leagues. While seldom are the standards of the highest level, the state based tourneys like the Karnataka Premier League and even the ones played out for leisure like the Celebrity Cricket League do indeed add to the growth of the popularity of the game in our country.
The IPL continues to be the most watched sporting event in our country and I don’t see that changing anytime soon but last year, rather surprisingly, it’s supremacy, atleast in terms of TRP was challenged by the inaugural edition of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League. While very few expected a sport which was primarily deemed a rural pastime to capture the country’s imagination in such a massive way, even fewer would have foreseen its popularity surge manifold over such a short period.
It was natural that much like its more illustrated predecessor; kabaddi too will have ancillary leagues being commenced around the country. Thus following an exemplary effort by the Maharasthra Kabaddi Federation, was the Maha Kabaddi League established. The first season played out over the last 3 weeks saw 8 teams participate in the men’s and women’s section. While the Thane Tigers emerged champions, the team from Baramati made all the headlines before and after the season.
Albeit for losses in the finals, the Hurricanes as they were christened became famous for being owned by a kabaddi player himself. Dadaso Awad, one of the most famous players from the state had managed to create ripples during the franchisee auction when he managed to buy the team in conglomerate with his friends.
As Sportskeeda reached out to the player who is currently playing for the Dabang Delhi team in PKL season 2, he described how special it was for him to help carry forward the legacy of kabaddi in his home state – “The PKL as we saw last year was a massive hit and in my opinion it’s the best thing that has happened to our sport ever. So I thought it was worth investing in to buying a team when the idea of MKL came along. Also it helps me to stay around the best players from my state, that way; I can pass on what I have learned,” he said.
He also assured that when the 2nd edition takes place in December, he will captain his team in the MKL. That might be a first in Indian sport-an owner who doubles up as a player but then Dada, as he is popularly referred to as has been a trendsetter in its truest sense. Here’s hoping he continues to play and inspire the now-kabaddi frenzied audience in Maharashtra.