VIVO Pro Kabaddi legend Anup Kumar was recently appointed captain of the Jaipur Pink Panthers for the upcoming sixth season of the league. Having led U Mumba to the finals for each of the first three seasons, which included one title win and two runner-up finishes, Kumar’s experience is a huge asset for any team.
At Jaipur, he has a healthy mixture of experience and youth at his disposal this season. The stellar line up the Pink Panthers can boast of makes them a formidable side and gives the fans a lot to cheer about.
“We have some quality senior players, like Bajirao Hodage, Mohit Chillar and myself, along with a lot of promising junior players in this season’s team,” Anup said exclusively to ProKabaddi.com. “It is a good mix of youth and experience which is necessary for every team. I want to assure the fans that we will put in our best efforts. Of course, at the end of the day it is a game and every team plays to win. But our single-minded aim is to make it to the finals this year.”
Kumar’s focus on his goals works wonders for him as a player but it is something he hopes will rub off on the juniors as well this season.
“Our preparations are going pretty well. We are working hard,” said Kumar. “There are a lot of young players, and they are hungry to do well in the league which bodes well for us.”
The Bonus ka Baadshah, Kumar knows more than a thing or two when it comes to leading a side. His leadership style relies on instinct and experience. When asked what the team’s strategy will be, going in with such a stacked squad, Kumar humbly replied, “I don’t believe in a lot of planning. Once I am in the middle, I just react to the match situation and that helps me maintain my focus on what is happening and adapt accordingly.”
The Pink Panthers are very well placed in the offence this season with the likes of Deepak Hooda, Selvamani K and Kumar at the helm of affairs. But their defense is what Kumar considers it to be the team’s biggest strength. It is something the team has worked on extensively according to the skipper.
“We have made sure we have a solid defensive unit this time. We want to keep it tight in the middle,” Kumar reasoned. “There are Mohit (Chhillar), Deepak (Hooda) and Bajirao (Hodage) who have the tons of experience and then there are a couple of promising youngsters like Nitin Rawal. The return of Selvamani K to the team this season will bolster our overall strength as well.”
While Anup knows he will get intensity, experience and model behavior from his senior players, he expects nothing less from his youngsters either.
“I always advise the youngsters from my team to focus on their fitness. If they are fit, they can play for a longer period. I also advise the players to keep calm, so they can give their hundred percent on the mat and be good role models off it,” concluded Captain Cool.