Baldev Singh may be playing in his first VIVO Pro Kabaddi campaign, but the Right Corner has been in the kabaddi circuit for a few years now and the familiar faces have allowed him to settle right in.
A seasoned player with the Himachal Pradesh kabaddi team and other teams that he has played for in various competitions, Baldev has previously shared the mat with VIVO Pro Kabaddi veterans like Ajay Thakur, Maninder Singh and Ran Singh.
So when Bengal Warriors snapped him up ahead of the season, it was an exciting moment for the defender, not only because he was finally getting his big break in the league but also because it was also a reunion with his pals Maninder Singh and Ran Singh.
“When I was informed that I was picked up by Bengal Warriors, I was glad that I was finally getting a big opportunity, but I was even more happy and elated by the thought of playing with Maninder again,” said Singh in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com. “He has been a very close friend of mine for years and sharing the mat with him again was something I was really forward to.”
His closeness with Maninder also helped him get comfortable with other members of the squad. Being an aggressive defender, he was afraid his hard-hitting style might rub people the wrong way. But Maninder’s approval ensured that other players in the squad also took note of Baldev’s game.
Despite this, the mercurial raider gets no respite from his friend during the training sessions, as Baldev explained.
“My favourite move is the Follow Back, which is essentially tackling the raider from his blind side while he is running across the mat to get a Running Hand Touch. I’ve used it on Maninder a lot in training sessions and on Jang Kun Lee as well. Although we may not converse much, I know Lee appreciates my skillset.”
His off-the-mat relationship with fellow defender Ran Singh has seen the two form a great partnership while playing together. Baldev doesn’t just speak highly of Ran Singh as a friend, but also reveals the reason he thinks the two are always in-sync on the mat.
“My partnership and understanding with Ran Singh is almost telepathic,” quipped the rookie. “He knows when I’m about to use the Follow Back and is always there to initiate the tackle or assist. I think our partnership will be a great asset to the team and it definitely feels great on the mat when we play together.”
Yes, adjusting to a new environment and making friends can be a daunting task for many. But fortunately for Baldev, his entry in Bengal Warriors meant that he was just reuniting with old friends in a new team and the team will hope that this bond he shares with the players sees them go far this season.