The campaign with Maharahstra in 2018 Senior Nationals was the defining moment of my career, says Siddharth Desai

Siddharth Desai
Siddharth Desai
Modified 05 Mar 2020

Prolific raider Siddharth Desai termed the 2018 Senior Nationals as the defining moment of his career while talking on the importance of the Senior National Kabaddi Championships for a kabaddi player seeking stardom. Desai, who featured for Maharashtra in their winning campaign back in 2018, shifted to the Indian Railways but wasn't picked in the 12-member squad for the ongoing 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship.

After his magnificent debut in the sixth season of the Pro Kabaddi League, Siddharth Desai was all set to play for his state Maharashtra last year in front of his home crowd. However, since he had already represented the Indian Railways earlier, the latter objected to issuing an NOC letter, which would allow him to play for Maharashtra. 

In the recent 69th All India Inter-Railways Kabaddi tournament held in Gorakhpur, Siddharth Desai represented the South Central Railways team, which ended as the semi-finalists. However, his injury issues kept him out for much time as he didn't get considered for the Railways squad this year as well.

While speaking to Pro Kabaddi in an exclusive interview, Siddharth Desai recalled the moment when his side Maharashtra won the 65th Senior Nationals, which eventually paved his way to make it to the Pro Kabaddi League.

For me, that campaign with Maharashtra in 2018 where we struck gold at the Senior National Kabaddi Championship was the defining moment of my career. I knew I had to perform well to not only help my team win the title but also open the door to the vivo Pro Kabaddi for myself.
Maharashtra defeated the then defending champions Services to win the title after 11 years!
Maharashtra defeated the then defending champions Services to win the title after 11 years!

The Rishank Devadiga-led Maharashtra ended its 11-years drought when they defeated Services by 34-29 in the summit clash of the 65th Senior National Kabaddi Championship held in 2017-18 in Hyderabad. Both sides played head to head during the match as the scores equaled on 25 points each, with eight minutes of play left. 

As Maharashtra was cruising towards an All-Out, which could have changed the result of the game, Siddharth Desai was brought in as a substitute and picked up two points - which turned out to be the game-changing moment of the final back then. Desai depicted how he kept his nerve during the moment, which helped Maharashtra clinch gold against a star-studded Services team.

I came on a substitute since we had no raiders on the mat and it was necessary for me to score points to ensure that we stayed within touch on the scoreboard and avoid the All-Out.
Despite the pressure, I backed myself and scored two points in a single raid that not only brought parity to the scoreline but also revived Nitin Madane, post which, we stepped up as a team to win the match and eventually the gold medal as well.

Also Checkout: 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship 2020 Schedule

The Senior National Kabaddi Championship is a platform for Kabaddi stars to show their skills to provide them further opportunities. It is that time when the owners of the Pro Kabaddi franchises scout for newcomers players who could grab the spotlight and outshine big names in the cash-rich tournament.

The 28-year-old signed off by expressing how the players should take pride in playing for their state in the Senior Nationals and depicted the importance of the prestigious tournament for a Kabaddi player.

Younger players should take great pride in representing their state in the Senior Nationals. This tournament pits the country’s best kabaddi players against each other and performing well could be a life-changing moment for anyone.

The ongoing 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship is currently taking place in Jaipur's Poornima University in Rajasthan and will conclude on 6th March 2020.

Published 04 Mar 2020, 21:16 IST
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