Dabang Delhi K.C.’s Season 5 campaign has not been off to an ideal start. The team looks solid on paper but more often than not has showed incoherence in their play this season. However, they can still stake a claim for a play-off berth if they come out of their home leg with good results. Bajirao Hodage, seasoned campaigner for Delhi in defence, recently sat down for a candid chat with prokabaddi.com and discussed a variety of topics, including how he reached the revered stage of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
When did you start playing kabaddi?
Initially, I was learning wrestling. But after watching my brother, who is a kabaddi player, and his game, I shifted my interest towards this sport.
Tell us more about your kabaddi journey.
I started playing in school and then I continued it in college. Later, I started playing for a club in Mumbai. I got a job in Mumbai Police and played for them too. I got an opportunity in the first season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi because of Nilesh Shinde and I thank him for that. It’s because of him that I am in Pro Kabaddi.
How does it feel playing with Nilesh Shinde on the same team?
He always motivates me whenever I am down. He keeps telling me that I have to play well and also guides me when I make mistakes.
Tell us more about the defensive partnership you share with Shinde.
We understand each other’s game really well. So, I don’t have to tell him when to tackle or when I’ll be tackling. We both have a good understanding.
What challenges do you face as a kabaddi player?
I belong to a middle-class family. So all of the family members do normal jobs. But my brother really supported me and because of him, I’m here today. Also, because of my parent’s blessings.
According to you, how has VIVO Pro Kabaddi helped in changing the lives of the players?
It has really changed our lives. Previously, nobody used to recognise us but now everyone knows us. Even in convent schools, previously there were only cricket and football but now they play kabaddi as well. Pro Kabaddi has given us a lot of fame. Some of the players have also got jobs because of the league. We have also learned new techniques in the sport.
What’s your most memorable moment so far?
In the second season, I was playing for Bengal Warriors and there, Nilesh and I got the highest super tackle points. Also, the fourth season where I won the league as part of Patna Pirates.
How do you assess the balance of your team?
I think the balance is getting better. We didn’t have good coordination in previous matches. I have not also performed to my potential yet.
What’s the kabaddi scene in Mumbai like?
Kabaddi is played on a high scale in Mumbai. There are a lot of clubs and it is very tough for a player to become a part of the district level. But if he manages to reach the district level, then he will definitely play for Maharashtra and for the country as well.
Lastly, do you have any message for Delhi’s fans?
I want to say that we will definitely try to win the league. We only want your support throughout the league.