The vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 player auction threw up several talking points. One of the most prominent among them was the whopping bid for former U Mumba raider Arjun Deshwal. The bidding started at the base price of 20 Lakh but Jaipur Pink Panthers wasted no time in raising the stakes by more than 70 Lakh. The move to raise the final bid to 96 Lakh was a strategic masterpiece since U Mumba would not be able to use their Final Bid Match card beyond 95 Lakh. Once the hammer was lowered Jaipur Pink Panthers had the man they wanted.

Speaking exclusively to after the auction, the raider expressed his elation at being one of the highlights of the auction.

“It feels amazing that Jaipur Pink Panthers have shown so much faith in my abilities,” said Deshwal, “I’m happy to be a part of the Panther family.”


The Jaipur Connection

Being a fan of the Bachchan family since he could remember, Deshwal said that he always dreamed of playing for Jaipur Pink Panthers even before he started in the league. Call it fate or destiny, this season he will get to do just that.

“Getting to play for Jaipur Pink Panthers is like a dream come true for me,” exclaimed Deshwal, “Not everyone gets the opportunity to play for a franchise owned by Bachchan Sahab himself. I consider myself lucky for having this opportunity.”

A relatively new name in the league till before the auction, Deshwal believes it is his performance in the Services team’s second-place finish at the 68th Senior National Men’s Kabaddi Championship that garnered such interest in his skills.

“I gave my 100% to the team during the Senior Nationals and it paid off for me even in the Pro Kabaddi auctions,” he said, “I never expected the bidding to reach such an extent, honestly. But after my performance for Services, I had the self-belief that some team would definitely pick me. After that, it was just a matter of sitting in prayer with joined hands throughout the bidding process.”


A potent partnership

However, Deshwal believes it is not just his numbers with Services that brought him success at the auction but also the discipline that the department team has managed to instill in his training and practise regimen. It is this disciplined training style that he hopes to replicate with Jaipur Pink Panthers’ coach Sanjeev Baliyan, who also moved on from U Mumba this season.

“We are both well-versed with each other as guru-shishya both on and off the mat,” Deshwal explained, “We understand each other’s training style. Training under such an experienced former player who is also an Arjuna awardee is an amazing learning experience and a matter of great honour for me.”

After being picked up by his dream team for a dream price, and also training under a coach he shares a good understanding with, Deshwal’s expectations from himself are sky-high. But just like many other big names in the sport, he wanted to let his game do the talking for him rather than his words.

“I’m excited to see what the new season holds for me. That’s all I can say,” said the youngster with a smile.”