"It is easy to become number one but hard to maintain it" - Rajasthan Warriors' Abhijit Patil on donning jersey number one in Ultimate Kho Kho

Abhijit Patil (second from left) puts in a sky dive during an Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 match.
Abhijit Patil (second from left) puts in a sky dive during an Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 match.

Rajasthan Warriors' Abhijit Patil revealed the mystery behind why he dons the number one jersey. Plying his trade for the Rajasthan Warriors, Abhijit has been a mainstay in the Warriors' line-up, making some significant contributions, especially in defense.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Abhijit Patil shared how he initially wanted to wear the number eleven jersey but on the insistence of his coach, he wore the number one while his twin brother, Amit, wore number two.

“When I initially started playing kho kho, I wanted to wear jersey number 11. However, my coach told me to take jersey number 1 and Amit (Patil), jersey number 2. I didn't want to wear it but since the coach had told me, I went ahead with it. I performed well in that game and ever since then, I have just worn jersey number 1."

The coach had an underlying motive, which he then revealed to Abhijit Patil after the completion of the match.

"Later on, the coach explained why he asked me to wear that jersey number. He said that we should always have a winning attitude. It is easy to become number one but hard to maintain it. It is a kind of a responsibility and that responsibility has been bestowed upon me by the coach.”

An emotional Abhijit shared details about his family background. He disclosed that he did not have a job and just as he was about to begin a new one when Ultimate Kho Kho came to fruition.

“My father expired last year, he used to work for BSNL. I have a sister and a twin brother who is playing for the Chennai Quick Guns. He currently has a job in the Railways while I am jobless. I lost my job in the lockdown. I am a teacher by profession. Just as I was about to start a new job, Ultimate Kho Kho came into being. I fetched a decent bid and my focus will be more on this than any job."

Abhijit Patil also ennumerated on the difference between playing kho kho in the sand and on the mat. Players have had to put in hours of training to improve their fitness for the tournament.

"You can even perhaps play a game without much practice in the sand. On the mat, you cannot play even one half without proper fitness. If you train twice a day for the traditional kho kho, it won’t suffice for kho kho on the mat."

"The matches are decided by the bonus points" - Abhijit Patil reveals secret to winning games

Bonus points, a system introduced for the first time in Ultimate Kho Kho 2022, is the secret to winning games, according to Abhijit Patil. He also spoke about how the attackers must be clever enough to pick up bonuses.

"The matches are decided by the bonus points garnered through sky dives and pole dives. Plenty of teams get ten defenders out. You get twenty points there, but if you get five bonus points there, suddenly you’re looking at a score of twenty-five. The bonuses have to be picked smartly too. If you know the defender is running a touch slow, you need to think and slow yourself down in such a way that you can execute the sky dive."

Lastly, Abhijit Patil shared the experience of playing against his twin brother, Amit Patil, who is seen leading the Chennai Quick Guns. He also divulged how both brothers made the same mistake of playing away from the central lane. The brothers challenge each other, but they are aggressive only on the mat.

“We have played against each other prior to this league too. We are aggressive but only on the court. Once the match is over, there’s no hard feelings. In fact, we challenge and tease each other for a short while if we succeed in the challenge but nothing after that. We tell each other’s strategies to our respective coaches. We both make the same mistake - playing far away from the central lane.”

The Rajasthan Warriors could only manage a solitary win in the entire tournament but will be looking forward to making a strong comeback in the next edition of Ultimate Kho Kho.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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