Interview with Bengaluru Bulls' Deepak Dahiya Kumar: An MS Dhoni fan who used to be scared of media
Different walks of life teach different people various things but there inherent nature and abilities hardly change, at least from the inside. Take a look at Bengaluru Bulls’ raider and Pro Kabaddi Season 4 2016 star Deepak Dahiya Kumar, who did not know how to react when he got to know that his game will be telecasted live on national television and on the same channel as Virat Kohli, David Beckham, Lionel Messi and his idol, MS Dhoni.
Kumar spoke exclusively with Sportskeeda about his interests, life beyond kabaddi and how Bengaluru Bulls are gunning for the title in the fourth season of Pro Kabaddi, which has grown by leaps and bounds in a space of two years. He opened up about travelling to new cities, meeting new people, adapting to media coverage and how he wanted to make his parents proud.
Kumar hails from Sisana district in Haryana and belongs to a typical farming family that has an orientation towards sports. His elder brother played kabaddi and that is where young Deepak got the inspiration to start taking the game seriously. “I come from a farming family in Haryana and my father works in the fields. We work really hard and all of us put in efforts to make ends meet. I have worked in the field with my father as well,” said Kumar.
The young raider, who will turn 27 in November this year, has quite a heavy voice but there is a sense of shyness in it that show how difficult and awkward it is to deal with so much attention and detailed questioning. However, a man with a strong sense of opinion about the things he knows, Deepak spoke quite openly about how life has changed after kabaddi along with people’s perception towards him.
“When I was young, I was not sure about whether to take kabaddi seriously or not. However, when I started doing well in my teens, my coach and brother suggested that I should actually work towards making a career in the sport. That was the turning point in my life and I have not looked back since then. However, I still cannot imagine the fact that a sport like kabaddi has gained nationwide importance and relevance,” he added.
The great thing about talking with players like Deepak Dahiya Kumar is the wry candor mixed with a great deal of reluctance, which helps you understand why there is nothing quite like sport and how it literally transforms people’s lives. It sends athletes like Deepak Dahiya Kumar into unchartered territories, where they have to find their own feet, which is much more difficult than finding the feet of an opponent on the mat.
Talking about his fear of being on television initially, he said, “I did not know what to do initially when the media came talking to me. I was really scared and got dumbfounded on a lot of occasions. But things are improving now and we are gettings used to these things. I could never imagine coming on television in my life but here I am on Star Sports, live, on a daily basis. Feels amazing.”
Another after-effect of becoming a national level personality is the kind of adulation one receives from their immediate society, which once regarded you as an ordinary part of it. Achievement, especially in sport, can do that to a person and Deepak Dahiya Kumar elaborated how people have changed their tone towards him. “Things have changed a lot for me ever since I entered Pro Kabaddi.
“The biggest difference is in the way people look at me now. When I go back home, they come over and congratulate me. Everyone smiles and talks to me now. This makes me really really happy. The feeling of making your parents proud is an amazing feeling. They are really happy to see me doing well in life and nothing is better than that,” he says with a sense of pride in his voice.
Dahiya also told us about his life beyond kabaddi and what he loves doing in his free time. “I love watching cricket and I am a big fan of MS Dhoni. I am a big eater and extremely fond of the Gulab Jamun. I love watching movies as well and enjoy South Indian action films as they are really entertaining,” Kumar says in a relaxed tone. Men from Haryana are known to have a bit of a temper but Dahiya Kumar believes that it should not be the case during the match.
“The game is really high intensity and tempers are bound to rise. You cannot do much about that. However, in tight situations, you need to maintain your composure, otherwise, you can end up overreacting and then losing the game, which no one wants,” he said.
Bengaluru Bulls got off to a winning start in Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4 with a win over Bengal Warriors and will be looking to do even better after a forgettable third season. For that to happen, Deepak Dahiya Kumar will need to be calm and composed like his hero MS Dhoni and pick up more than a few raid points.