Season 2 winners of VIVO Pro Kabaddi U Mumba experienced another underwhelming campaign following their subdued displays last year. Despite picking up their fair share of wins this season, the Mumbaikars failed to string together a consistent run of results together and now see themselves in a bad situation as far as their Super Playoffs chances are concerned. Another reason behind their below-par showing was the absence of one of their main raiders Shabeer Bappu due to injury. A potent force in attack when at the peak of his powers, Bappu’s absence has definitely been a factor behind Mumbai’s inconsistency. The 31-year-old spoke to about the art of raiding amongst other things earlier this season. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

How did kabaddi start for you?

We had a small club in my village. I joined that club and started playing kabaddi there. Then I went to SAI and was there in their camp for two years. I worked in the army for five years and that’s how it all began.

What’s the most memorable moment in your kabaddi journey so far?

In the second season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, we won the title for U Mumba so that’s my memorable moment.

Any advice for up-and-coming young raiders...

The new players who have come in are performing well and the young players who are yet to come... my advice for them is to do a lot of hard work because it pays off in the future.

What is the most important characteristic a raider must possess?

I think intelligence is very important for a raider.

Do you have any fitness tips for aspiring players?

Fitness is first and foremost in this sport. For a raider it is important because a raider has to raid for the entire match and plus it is a body contact game as well. Strength and endurance are also very important. Whoever wants to play kabaddi, I just want to tell them that shape your body according to the game.

Tell us about the importance of a well-conceived strategy in kabaddi.

Every team makes their strategies before coming onto the mat and the game has evolved as well. Strategy is very important in this game and because of the technology we have, the teams can watch their opponents’ game and see where and how they can exploit them.