Two-time reigning champions Patna Pirates have made a strong start to their VIVO Pro Kabaddi title defence as they bid for a hat-trick of league triumphs. The Pirates have been in brilliant form this season under Dubki King Pardeep Narwal – the hottest property in the league. In case of a rare off day for Pardeep, Patna have another reliable raider in Monu Goyat, who at times has been as lethal as Pardeep this season. Goyat has played a key role in Patna’s success so far by coming up with the goods in pressure situations or when Pardeep is on the bench. The 24-year-old recently sat down for a candid chat with and spoke about how he reached the hallowed stage of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. Here are some excerpts.

Please tell us how you started playing kabaddi.

Kabaddi was played in my village, from the days when I was just a child. I started to go and visit the ground to play as well. My uncle used to play kabaddi and he used to play very well. My family used to tell me about him. I was very young at the time but then I had this thing that I would also learn to play kabaddi.

How did you enter Pro Kabaddi?

Later I went on to play in the national tournaments and then got a job in the army. After Services, I played in nationals and then senior nationals. Then I got selected for Pro Kabaddi.

What do you think is the turning point of your career?

To get to Pro Kabaddi, you need to play at the national level. At Services I regularly played at the national level and that was the turning point. My name got around because of that and from there I got to Pro Kabaddi.

What are the challenges you face as a kabaddi player?

Challenges are always there. As a player if you don't perform, you get dropped. These kinds of problems are there for every player.

Tell us about the balance of the team because your coach has said many times that the defence is weak.

There is not much pressure on us. If our defenders don't work, then we go and get the points and we win the match often. But it’s important that the defence plays well. That way our wins will be one-sided.

Can we expect Patna to win their third straight title?

Yes, we will complete the hat trick.

Do you have any advice for young raiders?

The most important thing is practise regularly. If you practise then you will become better. Hard work pays. You do that and you'll become a great raider.

What’s the most important thing for raiders?

Fitness is most important for raiders. The raider is alone, he goes to the other end and there are seven people there to tackle him. Confidence and fitness are very important.

Lastly, what are the three things that the fans don’t know about you?

In my free time, I prefer staying at home. Because I get very little time to stay at home. These matches are going on for several months, then you go back to your job, then come the nationals. So, I prefer home and don’t go out much. Once in a while, I do like to go out with my friends and have fun. I also like listening to songs.