Tamil Thalaivas won a number of hearts when they made their VIVO Pro Kabaddi debut in Season 5 for their fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. The man who was instrumental in the rallying the entire team behind this ideology was the team’s skipper and primary raider, Ajay Thakur. Thakur ensured that the team stayed in the hunt for victory till the closing seconds, picking up heroic wins against Bengal Warriors and Gujarat Fortunegiants in the dying seconds of the game. This spirit rubbed off on the rest of the team and, although they were a very young unit, they managed to give a tough fight to the big guns of the game.

It is precisely this attitude that has impressed Thakur so far

“Last year was the best season of my life, what a great bunch of boys we had!” declared a proud Thakur in praise of his boys. “Yes, we did make a few mistakes, but it was such a young team and they all showed so much heart, taking on such big names in the sport. The mood and the environment was great.”

Leading a young side against teams of established players, some of whom are legends of the game, is a tough task but the Thalaivas could not have found a better man than Thakur for it. The understanding of the game he imparted to the youngsters and the grip they managed to have on the game for most part will definitely be huge learning for the young brigade. For Thakur, it was a season filled with learning experiences, many of which went beyond the results of the matches.

“Winning and losing are a part of the game, but to know that we as a team are appreciated and got so much love everywhere we went was a great feat in itself,” he said.

However, Season 6 will see Thakur team up with long-time friend and kabaddi partner Manjeet Chhillar as well as the much-decorated raider Jasvir Singh. With this combination, Thakur hopes to go far with the Thalaivas in the upcoming season.

“All the youngsters were great and some performances were remarkable but we did make some mistakes towards the end of the matches. This season we are better prepared,” assured Thakur. “This year we also have a mix of youth and experience and are striving to do better.”