Ravinder Pahal has been a defensive rock for Bengaluru Bulls this season. Along with captain Rohit Kumar and Ajay Kumar, he is one of the core members of the side and has the ability to rally the youngsters around him. After a good start to the season, the Bulls have flattered to deceive with several poor performances lately, and are now under tremendous pressure to make the play-offs.

When asked if the young players were having any difficulty adjusting to the new atmosphere of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, Pahal responded in the affirmative. “There is a difference when playing on the mat but if you think of these things you won’t be able to play at all. What is important is that a player enjoys his game,” he said before adding, “Most of the players in our team are new so they have a tendency to become nervous. Otherwise we have a good team overall.”

Be that as it may, Pahal felt that having a young side could prove to be an asset in this long season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. “There are benefits to having young players,” stated the defender, “It is a long season and young players can be fit for longer. Older players might have trouble maintaining their form when playing back-to-back matches.”

Pahal also reflected on his own initial days as a kabaddi player. “I started off playing circle-style kabaddi after watching my father but I had to give that up in favour of the standard style since I could not see a future in it,” said Pahal, “When I went to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), things really turned around for me. I got a good job and was playing with some really good players. The Delhi team coach called me in the middle of the season [inaugural edition in 2014] since I wasn’t auctioned, and from there my VIVO Pro Kabaddi journey began.”

With so many young kabaddi aspirants watching the league, the star defender has picked up quite a fan following. So what piece of advice does Pahal have for his young fans who are looking to emulate his success? “Things have become much easier for kabaddi players now after VIVO Pro kabaddi. However, I would like to tell young kabaddi players that they should not be under pressure to perform while playing. If they enjoy the sport and play well, it is enough to take them places,” the 26-year-old concluded.