Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Anup Kumar is to U Mumba what MS Dhoni is to Indian cricket team
The Pro Kabaddi galaxy has some stunning stars capable of performing the extraordinary and doing the unthinkable on the mat. When it comes to talent and the ability to stun opponents, names like Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans), Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) and Mohit Chillar (Bengaluru Bulls) pop up in the minds kabaddi aficionados. However, above all the talent and points, there exists a level that belongs to visionaries and true leaders, like U Mumba captain Anup Kumar.
U Mumba’s talismanic captain and star raider does not need any introduction as he is the biggest name in India’s talent-rich and ability-filled universe of kabaddi. On Friday night against Bengaluru Bulls, Anup Kumar showed exactly why he is rated so highly and regarded as a cut above the rest. His performance in the win against Bengaluru Bulls, which came after a hard tooth and nail battle, was testimony to his ability of stepping when it matters the most.
Just to put things into perspective, the game against Bengaluru saw indifferent performances from the likes of Rishank Devadiga, Rakesh Kumar and Jeeva, who were up against their former teammates Mohit Chillar and Surender Nada. From the way the game started, it seemed as if Surender and Mohit had worked out a strategy to get the better of Rishank and Anup Kumar; and when Bengaluru went into half time with a lead of six points, the penning of U Mumba obituaries on the night had begun. Anup had other plans.
The starting few minutes of the second half symbolised the match for U Mumba as Anup excellent raid managed to remove Mohit Chillar and Surender Nada, who had been tormenting them on the night. Although the resurgence had begun, U Mumba were still behind by five points and something had to be done quickly. This is where Anup Kumar showed he is not just about raiding and defending.
Kumar kept talking to his team, telling them to be be tactful but probing, and it seemed as if he was instructing to just stay in the game and the rest would follow. Little did we know, Anup Kumar’s instructions would work like gold on his teammates and suddenly, U Mumba inflicted an All Out on Bengaluru Bulls to take the lead. Anup was not done for the night till the end as he got the crucial touch point just before full time to draw things level.
Not only this, he followed it up with an excellent ankle hold on the Bengaluru Bulls raider to help his team surge into a two point lead. After that, it was only a matter of running down the clock and not making any silly mistakes, which Anup Kumar ensured did not happen. U Mumba ran out winners by one point in a match that absolutely did not belong to them and went to the top of the Pro Kabaddi table.
Anup Kumar’s performance against Bengaluru Bulls summarised him as a player, person and Kabaddi think tank. Not in the entire Kabaddi fraternity will you see a player who smiles during a raid, keeps muttering something and walks into the opponents’ half as if it is a tea shop. With nerves of steel and ice flowing through his veins, Anup Kumar brings forth a level of leadership seen in someone like MS Dhoni.
Though Anup is quite aggressive and does not mind shooting from his mouth on his oppponents occasionally, it is his Kabaddi skills that shine through on most occasions. He is like Glenn McGrath when it comes to tactical warfare with the opponents, peeping inside their minds without even letting them in the slightest. Just like MS Dhoni, Anup does not let the occasion get to him and deals with situations according to merit.
His statistics for the season might not put him in the top two or three but Anup Kumar’s brilliance as a captain, leader and his Kabaddi acumen are a league apart, better than the rest. He does not mind ending up with 0 raid points on the night if it benefits his team and is cool with setting things up for Rishank Devadiga – U Mumba’s second-in-command. Kumar stands out because his kabaddi is not about tackles, raids and holds but stands for intelligence, intimidation and instinct.
U Mumba are far from hitting peak form as far as Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4 is concerned and that could well turn out to be a good things for them, given the fact they play their home leg right at the end of the tournament, when every point would mean business. Needless to say, their leader and inspiration would need to be at the helm of the action if U Mumba are to win their second Pro Kabaddi title.