Facing off against UP Yoddha in a Pro Kabaddi season 5 match, Bengaluru Bulls’ captain Rohit Kumar created history. He scored 32 points that day, thus becoming the first player in the tournament’s short history to score over 30-points in a single match as Bulls romped their way to a 64-24 win.
The 2017 season was the highlight of Rohit’s Pro Kabaddi career. He finished with 231 points in 22 games which was the second highest in the tournament. But somehow, his individual success was not converted into team’s progress – Bulls finished fourth in the table and failed to reach the playoffs.
It came as no surprise that Rohit was retained as captain for the 6th season. But this time, he has emerged as more of a leader than a raider. Often during the matches, he has been seen communicating more with his players, discussing strategies and planning their next moves. The 28-year-old has also looked calmer and his influence has all but sealed a place for Bulls in the playoffs.
“This is my second season as captain in Bengaluru. In the past few seasons, I was a little unaware about how to manage a team – which raider to send and when to defend. Coach Randhir Singh helped me in understanding my role and I have become more mature as a captain. Because of this improvement, perhaps, our team is doing well,” Kumar said in an exclusive interview to IndianExpress.com.
Rohit had a slow start to the season. Luckily for his side, his struggles on the mat have been almost completely papered over by the purple patch Pawan Kumar Sehrawat has hit. The 22-year-old is leading the charts with maximum points this season -187, out of which 177 are raiding points. He has also scored 10 Super Raids this season – the highest by any player.
“Pawan has been a huge influence in the team this year,” Rohit agreed. “In the earlier games, I had an injury, and I was not performing to the best of my abilities. It was Pawan who won those matches for us,” he added.
Before the start of the tournament, Bengaluru’s defence was touted to be on the weaker side. But Kashiling Adake, who has been one of the best raiders of the tournament since season 2, stepped up to show his defensive abilities. The skipper said that Adake has created a fear among the raiders.
“Kashi has also won us a few games – he created a fear among the raiders – that even though he is a raider, you cannot take him lightly as a defender. He caught, dived and did not allow raiders to take easy bonus points,” he said. “Our team combination has been brilliant this season,” he added.
Being a part of the Indian national team, Kumar said that he would ask youngsters in the tournament to focus more on their game, than worrying about social media.
“I advice youngsters to avoid social media and focus on the game for these 2-3 months. I tell them if they worked hard, and focused on the sport, they will rise from Rs 50 lakhs to Rs 1 crore in the next season,” he said.