The recently concluded Senior National Kabaddi Championship saw Maharashtra emerge as one of the powerhouses of kabaddi after beating much more experienced oppositions like Karnataka and Services on their way to the title.

There were a number of individual performances of note along the way, such as captain Rishank Devadiga’s thrilling last raid in the semi-finals, Girish Maruti Ernak’s defensive prowess in the finals and Tushar Patil’s patient do-or-die raids. However, players from the state haven’t found favour at the national level of late and Maharashtra team coach Manik Rathod hoped the team’s performance at the Senior Nationals would help change this trend.

Speaking to The Asian Age, Rathod lauded the team’s performance and fighting spirit which saw them claim the national title and said he was looking forward to at least a few players from the state team making the leap to the national stage on the back of their showing in the event.

“Many players from the Maharashtra team have done well consistently. It is time to reward their efforts,” Rathod said.

Perhaps the most deserving of a national team call was Maharashtra skipper Rishank Devadiga, who scored consistently and took apart even the most experienced tacklers of the opposition teams. His Super 10 in the final took his team through the title in the end. He even performed brilliantly in Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi and was among the top 10 raiders of the event.

Devadiga, too, was hopeful that the consistency he has shown would help him gain entry in the Indian team for this year’s Asian Games.