Pro Kabaddi League, Season 5: Exclusive interview with Telugu Titans' Rohit Rana
Throughout his career in Pro Kabaddi, since the very inception, defender Rohit Rana has seen it all. In the inaugural edition, he won the coveted title with the Jaipur Pink Panthers and had since then played for the Abhishek Bachchan owned-franchise before the auctions last month.
He’s been at the top of his game on most occasions, constantly battling injuries and muscle strains to take the mat every time his team needed him the most. In season 5 though, the jaw-grip strapped defender will show up for the Southern force, Telugu Titans where he will share the limelight alongside Rahul Chaudhari and Rakesh Kumar.
Sportskeeda caught up with the mighty sportsman for an exclusive chat ahead of the upcoming edition and here are some excerpts from the interview:
How does it feel to leave the Jaipur Pink Panthers after four seasons and switching your loyalty towards the Titans for season 5?
This keeps happening in the case of sports, the key is to move on and take in your stride. Moreover, I’ve played with many players like Rahul, Rakesh Kumar, Amit at some or the other point in my career and hence I’m quite familiar with them. There is not much difference in that aspect, having said that, the first team one plays for always occupies a special place in the heart.
How are the training and preparations going on for Pro Kabaddi Season 5?
Well, they are on in full swing especially with the appointment of the new coach, who himself has represented India at the Asian Games and the World Cup. In fact, under his Aegis, we have three practice sessions each day, one in the morning, followed by afternoon and evening. Thus, he is prepping us in a great manner ahead of the start of the season.
What is the scenario regarding the captaincy for the Telugu Titans?
It’s quite undecided at the moment; we have Rahul who has previously captained the side as well as senior player Rakesh Kumar who is a former Indian captain. But at the present, we are just focusing on our skills and technique and how to better the same, the call regarding captaincy will probably be taken at a later stage.
Which team do you think will be the biggest threat for the Titans?
In my opinion, with four new teams in the fray and the players being distributed all across them, no team will be a threat. Rather, each team has a certain amount of elite players which will act as their strength and on the other hand, there is a whole new crop of young players who are not as experienced and that can be termed as a weakness.
Thus, this situation is the same for all the franchises, hence it would wrong for me to say that any particular team is stronger than the other, instead, it will take the competition one notch higher.
12 teams, 130 plus matches, almost three months; what do you think about the progress of kabaddi?
Pro Kabaddi has given a new lease of life to the sport. We’ve progressed by a margin and it’s not just me but the whole clan of players who will tell you the same thing. Not only has the PKL given us exposure to the audience but it has also brought forth monetary benefits which have made many involved in the league financially stronger. Thus, it has not just benefited one area but plenty of related spectrums as well which is evident this year with the addition of the new teams.
Most kabaddi players have their roots back in Haryana, how did you take a liking towards kabaddi in the snowy environment of Himachal?
I can probably attribute that to my affinity towards sports right from the school level. In fact, that was where I began and at an early age, started playing at the higher levels in terms of district and nationals.
A lesser known fact is that I used to play also play football professionally back in Himachal for my club and then at the district level but chose to move ahead with kabaddi. Subsequently, I was picked up by Air India and moved to Mumbai post which I played for ONGC and at the moment I’m with BPCL.
The last question was on a lighter note, and we asked Rohit how it feels when stars like Abhishek Bachchan (previously at Jaipur) and Rana Daggubatti and Prabhas (now at Telugu Titans) cheer for the players from the sidelines?
Well, it adds a great deal to our motivation to have such big personalities cheer us on during the matches. They are all superstars in their own right, and hence when they cheer, they give a whole new identity to the sport of kabaddi!