Mumbai, April 17 (IANS) Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) players are slowly breaking barriers and are becoming the costliest non-cricketing sportspersons in the country. After Monu Goyat became the most expensive player in the PKL history last year by pocketing Rs 1.51 crore, the 2019 auction was not much different as Siddharth Desai caused a bidding war between franchises before Telugu Titans bid Rs 1.45 crore to take him home.
After playing just one PKL season, Siddharth has acquired the name, 'Poster Boy of Kabaddi', by accumulating 218 points from just 21 games and playing a significant role in taking U Mumba to the play-offs.
Hailing from the small Phulewadi town in Kolhapur, the Maharashtra raider came from nowhere and shattered one after another record and was set to take the auction by storm. After becoming the second-most costliest player in the PKL history, the star raider talked to IANS on his expectations and preparations.
"I had a fantastic show in 2018 and I knew there will be big bidding for me. However, I never thought about any particular amount. I was just expecting any of the franchise to give me a chance as it's 'Kabaddi' that has given me everything in life," he said.
When asked if there would be any pressure on him as a huge amount has been spent on him, the raider said: "I won't take any pressure. Whenever I enter the mat, I will keep the 'amount' thing out of it and will take this again as my first season."
"My focus is to get better than the previous year. I am currently recovering well from a shoulder injury," Siddharth said.
Speaking on his preparations for playing for Telugu Titans, Siddharth said Iranian coach Gholamreza Mazandarani has shifted from U Mumba to Titans and it will benefit him. "I am lucky as once again I will play under Mazandarani Sir's guidance. As he knows my strengths, weaknesses and my style, it will immensely benefit me to get better. He believes in me and that motivates me a lot," the 26-year-old said.
Moreover Siddharth will be playing with his brother Suraj Desai this year and it will be interesting to see how the pair that rocked at the domestic level, performs at the big stage.
"It will be great to play with him (Suraj). We have played together from the beginning and form a terrific raiding combination. When the franchise trusts, it's very satisfying and motivates further to deliver our best. We cannot let them down," he said.
The star raider also revealed how he keep himself grounded and remains humble even after achieving so much in such a short time. "It's my nature (laughs). I have always kept my feet on the ground, no matter whatever I achieve. I believe simplicity makes not only a player, but a human being great," he said.
(Kaushik Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)