Interview with Anup Kumar: "I always look to win"
Everything that U Mumba has touched has turned into gold, or rather black and orange. With just one defeat in the season, U Mumba have confirmed the No. 1 spot in the league this season with two games to spare.
It has been a spectacular team effort from U-Mumba all throughout the campaign, but it’s difficult to ignore the impact of their skipper Anup Kumar on the season. Among the top raiders in the league, Anup provides U-Mumba with the bite in the raiding department which often builds on the side’s solid defensive displays to bring down opponents.
Speaking to Sportskeeda ahead of U Mumba’s game against hosts Puneri Paltan, the U Mumba captain gave his thoughts about his side’s preparations, his personal attitude, some fine young players and the impact Star Sports Pro Kabaddi has had on the sport.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. U Mumba has been simply unstoppable this season. What has been the key for such consistent performances?
The only key factor according to me is the amount of practice we have put into our preparations. I must credit our coach for taking the best out of us and training us in the best possible way. We want to continue to do that hard work, so that it pays well for us in the future.
Q. U Mumba has already qualified as the No. 1 team from the league stage. But you still have two games left to play here in Pune. How do you plan to utilise them?
We want to use these games to give chance to our fringe players. We have got our full quota of players here and we will give those who haven’t played often a run-in. It also provides many players with some much-needed rest.
Q. The last time you played the Telugu Titans, it went right down to the wire with you winning it with the last raid. Can you recollect what went through your mind when you went for that raid?
There was only one thing in my mind and that was to win the game for my side. I sensed we had a great chance to beat one of the top teams in this league and I was able to achieve it. But be it any raid, I approach the situation in the same way. I am always looking to win. Be it a raid, or a match, my aim is always to win. That is what drives me.
Q. You have delivered many stellar performances. Which according to you is the best one so far?
For me, every performance which has helped us win a game is the best. I don’t point at any one performance and say it was great. For me it’s important to win and if you help your team win, you automatically get the praise you deserve for your performance. So for me every winning performance is the best.
Q. Being a captain of your side, you have to control your aggression sometimes. How do you perform that role?
My role as a captain is simple. I have to ensure that the team is united all the times. It is my job to keep the team together and make sure they follow our strategy. It’s easy to get carried away in this atmosphere and I have to look into it that every player is focused all the time. Sometimes, I feel you need the aggression to lead by example so it’s sometimes useful.
Q. There are so many youngsters in your team. Which youngster has impressed you the most?
This one is a bit tough as everyone is so good. But if I had to choose one I would say Mohit Chhillar is the one who has impressed me the most. He has played really well this season and has a big future ahead of him.
Q. How has your life changed after Pro Kabaddi?
It has totally changed. Earlier very few people used to know me, but now after the league started last year, things have changed drastically. People recognize me now and I have an image in the minds of the public. I have a great fan following now and it feels wonderful to be recognized for your good work.
Q. A lot of young kids have taken to kabaddi. You also find a lot of kids in the stadia. How do you find this change, for the good of the game?
This is a pleasant change in Indian kabaddi. Earlier, kabaddi used to be played mostly in rural areas, but now it has become a big sport in cities as well. I have seen kids playing kabaddi on playgrounds, in parks and I feel the future is bright for kabaddi in India.