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Interview with Shabeer Bapu: "Star Sports Pro Kabaddi has given kabaddi players recognition"

Shabeer Bapu speaks about his early introduction, his own performance and playing along with Anup Kumar.

Shabeer Bapu
U Mumba's Shabeer Bapu (Orange) during a raid against Jaipur Pink Panthers

Shabeer Bapu Sharfudheen, 29-years-old raider of U Mumba. You can’t even imagine that a clerk of State Bank of Mysore can rise at this level that Anup Kumar the captain of U Mumba and great player of Indian Kabaddi team himself described him as one of the best raider in world Kabaddi.

Shabeer Bapu who hails from Palakkad a very small village of Kerala spoke to Sportskeeda about his journey so far in Kabaddi. He also gave his view on his own performance as well as on team’s performance.

Here are the excerpts:

Q. When  did you start playing Kabaddi?

I started my Kabaddi career in 2004. I started Kabaddi when I was in school.

Q. What kind of support did you get from your family during your early days for Kabaddi?

Kabaddi was not that famous in my village Palakkad. Now after Star Sports Pro Kabaddi it is getting famous over there. Kabaddi was famous in north side villages but not that much famous in our Kerala villages.

Despite that my father supported me very much since my childhood. He started my training from a very young age.

Q. What was the reason that you selected Kabaddi, which was not that famous in your village and not any other game?

During school time they are selecting player for Kabaddi team. My physic was good, so they selected me and I started playing Kabaddi.

Q. How did you get selected in U Mumba?

Before that I played at national level. I also played departmental level tournament. I represented State Bank of Mysore in department level tournament.

Q. What is more easy for you: Working in bank or playing Kabaddi? Which is more interesting?

I work in State Bank of Mysore as a Clerk in Bangalore. This is not that hard. I do work there during free time from Kabaddi. I love Kabaddi, so for me Kabaddi is more interesting.

Q. What difference do you find in the Kabaddi you played before to the one you are now playing in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi?

After Star Sports Pro Kabaddi everyone recognize us that he is a Kabaddi player. We as a player become famous now. People started following Kabaddi also, which was not there before.

Q. How  do you feel when someone recognizes you everywhere and asks for selfie and autographs?

It feels very good. Before one year no one used to follow Kabaddi, now everyone follow the game. Whenever we go out everyone asks us for photos and autographs. This thing starts last year in-between the first season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. I feel very proud that someone is following me. I can’t explain the feelings in words.

Q. Would you like to tell us about your injury?

The injury is not that much serious. I just had strain in my hand. I will be ready to play in next 2-3 days. Hopefully I will be ready to play after Delhi leg.

Q. What do you think about your own performance so far?

I started very good this time. I got injured and missed few games. I will try to come back with better performance.

Q. What are the advantages of playing with big players like Anup Kumar?

He is very cool. Sometimes he explain us the strategy according to the situation of the game. He always motivates us before the game and in-between the game.

Q. You have only lost 1 match so far against the defending champion Jaipur Pink Panthers. Would you like to tell us the reactions in the team after the first defeat?

Winning and losing does happen in sport. This is not a big thing. We just lost 1 match, we have many pending matches. I believe that we will do well and secure 1st position in the point table. 

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