a profile by Geo Sebastian
Kabaddi is a game that is physical, rough & tough, competitive and comes with a high adrenaline rush. The Pro Kabaddi league has brought the ancient rural traditional game into the limelight. The first season, with its Page 3 celebrities and famous industrialists, with colourful lights and pumping music, was a huge success all around.
The invisible sportsmen of India, who have won many accolades for the country were finally noticed and duly valued in the first edition of Kabaddi League. Many players like Anup Kumar, Manjit Chillar, Sandeep Narwal became household names.
The second edition is well underway and continues to build on last year’s success. Anup Kumar, the captain of the finalists of last year U-Mumba, is looking in his top form and on his way to retain the Most Valuable Player in 2015 too.
The man is a machine on the field. With his electrifying moves and agile movements, Anup Kumar had showed in 2014, why he was the best player of the tournament. This Palra, Haryana born raider is known to be one of the best Kabaddi players in the world. He was the key man in India’s Gold Medal wins at the 2010, 2014 Asian Games.
The Arjuna Awardee for his contribution for the sport has become the face of the ancient game. The Bonus ka Badshah, as he is lovingly called by his fans, is a master of the game and leads his team from the front.
The 31-year-old lean and tall athlete’s style of raiding is quite classy with him walking till the touch line as if going on a stroll in a park. As soon as he crosses the line and enters the opposition territory, he bends a little and stops and suddenly becomes serious and monitors the area. With no emotion on the face, he attacks and tries to strike the defenders with his toe, while returning back having touched the bonus line.
The Haryana Police employee started the Season 2 on not a very high note, with having been timed-out for three times for exceeding the raiding 30 seconds. However, he kicked into top form soon enough.
His best match has been against Telugu Titans so far this season. The U-Mumba’s skipper inspired his team to win 27-26 in an edge-of-the-seat thriller at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur. In the dying moments of the match and just about seven minutes remaining in the clock with the Mumbai franchise trailing 18-23, Anup Kumar got rid of two Titans and backed teammates Rishank Devadiga and Shabeer Bapu to hold their nerve and take the first edition finalists to victory in a very engaging match. Kumar was the star of the match having scored 10 points for his team.
As a captain, he also showed that Kabaddi is as much a game of strategy as of brawn power.
The vice-captain of Indian National team is confident and enthusiastic about his role as a leader and has the ability to handle and adapt to hard-and-fast conditions of the league. He is hoping that the trophy for U-Mumba in this edition will be the cherry on top of his amazing career