Captaining India is a matter of huge pride for me, says Ajay Thakur

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Captaining India is a matter of huge pride for me, says Ajay Thakur

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SportsCafe Desk

06/25/2018

Ajay Thakur, who was the top scorer in India’s victory against Pakistan in Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018, has insisted that being a captain of the Indian team that has been the best in the world for many years is a matter of pride for him. India defeated Pakistan 36-20 in the opening match in Dubai.

The Indian kabaddi team enjoyed a flying start to their campaign at the Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 as they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 36-20. Leading from the front was captain Ajay Thakur, who was the top scorer for the team in attack and also chipped in defence with a couple of brilliant ankle holds.

Thakur has been one of the most prominent figures in the Indian kabaddi scene, which has grown exponentially since the arrival of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). A national team regular for many years now, he made his India debut at the age of 19 and captained the side for the very first time last year at the Asian Kabaddi Championships in Iran, leading them to a gold medal finish. Thakur insisted that it has been a matter of pride for him to captain such a world class team. 

“It is a matter of huge pride for me, captaining a country such as India that has been the best in the world for so many years. Even representing such a team is a massive thing and holding the reins is even more incredible,” said Ajay Thakur in an interview with timesnownews.com.

The ever-favorite India was stunned by South Korea in the opening match of the 2017 Kabaddi World Cup and were defeated 34-32 causing a huge upset at the start of the tournament. Thakur stated that he didn’t want a repeat of the last year’s World Cup, hence, made sure that all the players were confident. 

“Before the match, I was talking to the players individually. I was trying to instill self-confidence into the boys by telling them that they are the best. I was really feeling the pressure as I didn't want a repeat of the World Cup opener (in 2016) where we lost the match to South Korea. The pressure then was unlike anything I had ever seen and I couldn't let that happen again,” he said. 

On being asked about his reunion with his Manjeet Chillar in Pro Kabaddi League, he said, “Manjeet and I have been playing together for a long, long time now and form a strong pairing. Let's see how this season goes. Last time, we were short on raiders but this time around, we have done well in the auction and it looks like a balanced team.”

He also added that India’s success in the sport has not been easy and they had to work extremely hard to maintain their dominance. He suggested that other countries have been too far behind India and would challenge India for the number one spot in the coming years.  

“I don't think there is such a gap anymore. We lost to Korea at the World Cup and beat Iran at the very last moment in the final. It's not easy anywhere. And I hope players from these countries continue to play in the Pro Kabaddi League and keep developing. We should have more matches and more tournaments, and I'm certain that in 2-3 years, these countries will be challenging us for the number one spot,” he added.

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