Fazel Atrachali has opened up on his relationship with former U Mumba captain Anup Kumar, admitting that they were not good friends initially. However, after spending some time together at U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi League, both players now respect each other.
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Puneri Paltan skipper Fazel Atrachali recalled his debut season in the Pro Kabaddi League. U Mumba signed him in the 2015 season. Former Indian kabaddi team captain Anup Kumar was the skipper of the Mumbai-based franchise at the time.
Fazel said that he was not on good terms with Anup Kumar as they fought a lot during India vs. Iran matches at the international level.
"Initially, my friendship with Anup Kumar was not good because I was captain of Iran. He was captain of India. And so many times we had a fight with each other," said Fazel.
Atrachali further shared details of how he became friends with Anup Kumar:
"But when you are not talking, you see them just 1 hour on the mat, you don't know about the personality of another person. So first time when I came here, me and Anup Kumar just said, 'Hi, Bye' like this. But after some days, he knows that I am a good person, and I know that he is also a good person."
I used to be silent: Fazel Atrachali discloses he did not speak much due to language barriers
Fazel Atrachali added that he did not speak much with the U Mumba players in the first season as he did not understand Hindi. The Iranian player slowly got comfortable with the language and built a rapport with his captain and teammates.
"We also had the language problem. So I used to be silent. But before we only saw each other on the mat and always we had a fight. We didn't have a good memory for each other, but Anup is really a legend. He was really Captain Cool. He was kind to all players, and he helped all players," Fazel Atrachali concluded.
Atrachali has led Puneri Paltan to their first PKL final this year. It will be interesting to see if he can lift the trophy on December 17 as Pune take on the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the summit clash.