After four trophy-less seasons in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, Bengal Warriors brought in former player-turned-coach Jagdish Kumble to coach the team in their quest for a maiden title ahead of the fifth season. And the team appears to be doing well under him as the Warriors have consistently found themselves in the top half of Zone B right from the very start of their campaign in early August.

Kumble, who played for Services for over two decades, hopes that his huge experience stands the Warriors in good stead and that the team continues improving as the season progresses. “This is my first season as a coach in VIVO Pro Kabaddi so it’s a new experience. The experiences I had while playing for Services and the lessons I learned from my coach are what I hope to pass onto the youngsters in the team,” Kumble told in an exclusive interview.

The former Jaipur Pink Panthers player also reflected on his time as a player in VIVO Pro Kabaddi. “In the first two seasons we didn’t have the permission to play because I was in the army. In the third season when the Services players came into the league I was a part of Jaipur Pink Panthers. That was the last season for me as a player,” he said.

With Surjeet Singh and Ran Singh taking over the defensive duties and retained player Jang Kun Lee leading the charge in attack along with Maninder Singh and Deepak Narwal, the team looks spoilt for choice. Kumble made it clear as to what influences the team management most when they draw up the playing seven. “When we make a team, it is only on the basis of performance,” he said, “If a player is performing well and the team requires him, then he will be a part of the playing seven.”

Kumble was also pleased that the league has given young players a big platform to showcase their talent. “The players in India are getting the opportunity to showcase their talent [because of VIVO Pro Kabaddi]. This league has given a lot of opportunities to the youngsters and now kabaddi is a global game,” he concluded.