From being a raider who was called into Dabang Delhi K.C.’s squad for Season 2 owing to his ability to put the opposition Left Corner under pressure in Do-or-Die situations, Selvamani K’s kabaddi career has come a long way. Though he now raids more regularly for his current side, Jaipur Pink Panthers, the calmness with which he approaches raiding remains the same as when he used to be under pressure to score right off the bench.
This is no surprise of course, since his idol from the world of sports is also known for his level-headed nature and the cool and composed way he approaches his game.
“Growing up, Mahendra Singh Dhoni used to be my role model. Whichever sport I played, I aimed to be aggressive like him,” revealed Selvamani in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com.
But Selvamani doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to moulding his attitude on his idol; he walks the walk, as seen in many of the raids he puts in at vital junctures of the match.
“By watching Dhoni I have learned to be cool during a match. Whatever the pressure, I just absorb it and play with a sound mind. This is something I have been able to incorporate in my game thanks to him,” says the raider.
Several times Selvamani has been entrusted with the responsibility of getting his team a point in situations where he cannot return empty-handed, and he has shown time and again that he can shine under that pressure. In Season 3, he was even joint-third in the list of raiders with the most points in Do-or-Die situations.
An example of Selvamani’s ability to soak pressure was witnessed in Dabang Delhi K.C.’s match against Bengaluru Bulls in Season 3. Dabang Delhi K.C. had lost their first seven matches of the season and desperately needed a win to stay alive in the competition.
In the 13th minute of the match, they had to send a raider for a crucial Do-or-Die raid and the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Selvamani. He had already scored two points off his previous raids and looked to be in fine touch. But Dabang Delhi K.C. were ahead by just one point at that stage and needed to ensure that they didn’t concede a point and let go of the advantage. To make matters more difficult, Selvamani had to get a touch point, as a bonus point wasn’t available.
But Selvamani didn’t show any signs of nerves and took the challenge head-on. In fact, he went one up and pushed his way through a diving Thigh Hold to return with a Super Raid to his name. Bengaluru Bulls were reduced to two men in the process and Dabang Delhi K.C. increased their lead to four points. Spurred on by Selvamani’s brilliant raid, Dabang Delhi K.C. kept Bengaluru Bulls at bay and went on to win their first game of the season.
Selvamani chose the ideal situation for putting the learnings from his idol into practice and, just like Dhoni has done in countless matches for the Indian team, he made sure he and his team walked away with a successful result.
In Selvamani’s own words, “I think pressure gets the best out of me. Many people don’t take pressure well. But it works for me and I have learned how to make the best use of my abilities under pressure.”