Some people are destined for greatness and Pro Kabaddi League sensation, Abhishek Singh is not an exception to this rule. In the past 12 months, the prodigious youngster has reached dizzying heights by becoming a mainstay for season one's runners-up, U Mumba. Despite the enormous step-up from the domestic circuit to rubbing shoulders with the country's finest Kabaddi players, Singh's transition has been as smooth as a whistle.
Signed by U Mumba for a hefty ₹42.8 lakh fee, the Mumbai-based outfit took a huge leap of faith on Singh’s incredible potential. Exemplified by his impeccable athleticism and cat-like reflexes, Singh can be a thorn in the side of any opposition. While the Bulandshahr native was making waves in the 2017-18 Senior Kabaddi Championship, U Mumba had taken a punt on the-then 19-year old’s raw talent instead of acquiring more of a finished article among their ranks.
Their ‘big risk, big reward policy’ worked wonders as the raider had a good debut season, amassing a total of 53 points including 47 raid points and 6 tackle points in 15 matches. In actuality, what initially seemed like a gamble has turned out to be a shrewd investment on a young prospect who can blossom at U-Mumba for years to come and develop into a truly world-class player.
Sportskeeda spoke to Abhishek Singh ahead of Season 7 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) that is set to commence from July 20th 2019. Here are some excerpts from the interview-
With the upcoming season of the Pro Kabaddi League on the horizon, how are you preparing for another challenging campaign?
Our new coach, Sandeep (Kumar) Baliyan has joined the team and he is preparing us along with our trainer, Mustafa Ahmed. They train us in the morning and in the evening, we do mat practice.
The preparation is going successfully, with close attention being paid towards the technical side like how to gain points in a particular situation and how to break a do-or-die raid. We are preparing towards these things and we will see the benefits of this training in a match.
Playing alongside a senior player like Fazel Atrachali, what skills have you learned from such an experienced professional?
Fazel bhai is a very good defender and I get to learn a lot from him. Playing with such a player is always a good experience. If you play with a renowned defender, you are bound to get the most points.
He also tells us which positions of a defender are his strengths and which are his weaknesses. He always explains things to us from time-to-time.
You formed a partnership with Rohit Baliyan as U Mumba’s raiders last season. How excited are you to have a partner of his caliber play by your side as the team’s top raiders again in the upcoming campaign?
Rohit and I played together last season and we also share a great friendship which is why there is always a positive dynamic between us. We also played together in the All India National Style Kabaddi Championship last year.
Since we are both from UP, our combination is good and we understand each other very well. We will make sure that we perform as well in the matches too.
Being an all-rounder yourself, what do you get to learn from an established all-rounder like Sandeep Narwal?
Sandeep is an exciting and an aggressive player and I always like watching him play. Naturally, you get to learn only good things from a good player because he always has things to say which are helpful.
He always makes a fast raid and defensively, he is simply brilliant.
Which new skills have you learnt in training and plan to bring to your game in the 2018-19 season?
There are no new techniques as such. The focus is on important kabaddi techniques such as back kick and bonuses have the main area of attention for our team. Improvements in breaking defences are also an aspect that we are working on.
Finally, U Mumba has a lot of young players in their squad. What advantage will the element of youth bring to the team for the season ahead?
Young players play with an excitement and a hunger which only benefits the team. All of them will play well and try to show their talent at such a big stage that can come about to help the team.
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