Rishank Devadiga played for U Mumba until last season but this year he has switched to U.P. Yoddha. Having honed his skills in a title-winning squad, he is now one of the star raiders for the Lucknow side with the 23-year-old’s experience serving as a valuable asset. He spoke to prokabaddi.com in an exclusive interview recently and discussed a variety of topics. Here are some excerpts.

Tell us about your performance so far.

We had a good start to the season. We won against Telugu Titans with a big margin, against Bengaluru I started well but picked up an ankle injury. I missed the third match but overall I have had a good start and I hope to continue this form.

It’s a new team, so what are the challenges that you face?

There are a lot of responsibilities on us being the senior players in the team. We have to perform and be on the same page as the youngsters. So, that’s the biggest challenge.

Tell us about your partnership with Nitin Tomar.

We have a good left-right raiding combination. We gauge which side the opponent is weak and we raid according to that.

Is there anything new which we can expect from you this season?

There are a lot of new things which I have learned. Our coach also has corrected the mistakes which I made in the past seasons and I have also learned some new skills as well.

What is the difference you’ve experienced playing for U Mumba and now U.P. Yoddha?

Playing with U Mumba was a different experience because I started my career there. There I learned how to take responsibility and play, whereas, here I am learning how to be mature in my game.

How are you feeling about leading this side?

It feels really good. Nitin and I are leading this side so it’s a nice responsibility and I am enjoying this responsibility.

Please shed a little light on your kabaddi journey.

Ever since my childhood I’ve always enjoyed playing kabaddi. I was in the college team as well. Due to financial issues, I shifted to hotel management and used to play local matches sometimes. My coach spotted me and he called me for a Mumbai district match and that’s when my real kabaddi journey began.

What difference has Pro Kabaddi made to financial conditions of the players?

It has really made a big difference. Earlier, I lived in a chawl but now we live in an apartment. So, Pro Kabaddi has given a lot of fame to us and it has changed my life. I never thought that we could get so much fame because of kabaddi and I would like to thank god for giving me this opportunity.

What’s your most memorable moment so far?

In Season 3, I got the best raider award so that was a memorable moment.

How different is Nitin Tomar as captain?

There is nothing different. Playing under Anup Kumar was a great experience. I went there as a youngster and learned how he motivated the youngsters and how he played the game. Nitin is also my age so there is not a big difference. We play as friends and we have a great unity in the team.

We know that there are a lot of players from Haryana, so tell us about the kabaddi culture in your home city Mumbai?

I would like to say that kabaddi is played more in Mumbai compared to Haryana. It’s not like Mumbai is a city and people do not play Kabaddi here. It is being played from a very long time. So, it’s wrong that kabaddi is not played in Mumbai.