Interview with Patna Pirates captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan: "We have a great mix which makes us one of the top contenders"
Dharmaraj Cheralathan will be leading the charge for Patna Pirates in the season 4 of Pro Kabaddi. The 41-year-old defender has been a veteran of the league who has played for Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans before this season and was bought by Patna Pirates in the auctions ahead of the 4th season. Talking to Sportskeeda, Cheralathan opened up about his life and the game of Kabaddi in an exclusive interview.
Cheralathan who hails from Tamil Nadu, comes from a family of farmers. Cheralathan has three siblings that include two sisters. “Farming was all that was important to me while growing up. Even my brother is a farmer. We spent a lot of our young days working in the fields.”
The 41-year-old has a son as well. Cheralathan’s brother D Gopu is also a hot property in the Pro Kabaddi League and is a defender just like his brother. This season, Gopu will be seen playing for Dabang Delhi.
When prodded to tell us about his association with the game, the shy Cheralathan revealed, “I started playing Kabaddi at an early age and enjoyed playing it. I never thought it would bring me to this stage.” Ask him how his life has changed post-Pro Kabaddi, and the defender is quick to point out that now more and more people know him.
“These days everyone seems to know me which is a good feeling.” When he isn’t giving raiders a hard time on the mat, the man from Tamil Nadu works for the Indian Railways as a clerk.
Just like coach K Bhaskaran, the captain of the Patna Pirates also sounded confident about his team’s chances in the tournament that starts on 25th of June. The team is gelling really well and I hope we can replicate what Pirates achieved in the last season.
Patna Pirates had defeated U Mumba in the finals to win the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Season 3. Before that, the team had finished in the top 4 in the first and second seasons. The team will start its campaign against Puneri Paltans on the 27th June in Mumbai.
Before his stint with Patna Pirates, Cheralathan was a sensation in the strong Bengaluru Bulls defence in the first season, wowing everyone with his ankle holds and his cool head under pressure. It’s remarkable that even at the age of 41, Cheralathan has managed to keep his fitness intact which makes him one of the most agile men in the tournament.
The man from Tamil Nadu, however, didn’t have the best of the seasons when he turned out for Telugu Titans as the skipper in season 3. The Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam-based team could only win 7 of their 14 games and finished fifth, failing to secure a position a berth in the playoffs.
However, despite that, the fact that Cheralathan went for 29 lakhs in the auctions tells something about the abilities of the man. And that’s how he has landed the job of skipper for Patna Pirates this season.
The team which will have the added pressure of being the defending champions in a tournament in which no champion has ever gone on to defend the title. However, the calm and composed Dharmaraj remains unfazed about that talk.
“All the teams are pretty good and all will have an equal chance at winning the league. However, we are training hard and the team has a great mix that makes it one of the top contenders for the title,” he said.