Chandgad to PKL, Siddharth takes big strides

Kirti Patil
Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sonepat: Chandgad to Sonepat is a long road, but for Siddharth Desai every travelled distance over the last two weeks has brought in loads of experience and accolades that the U Mumba debutant wants to use it for self-learning to become ‘raider par excellence’.

“Making it to the Indian team is the ultimate dream and I hope one day I will be able to realise it, is how the soft-spoken Desai outlined his goals in an interview with Sakal Times on the eve of U Mumba’s last match of the Sonepat leg.

Sonepat: Chandgad to Sonepat is a long road, but for Siddharth Desai every travelled distance over the last two weeks has brought in loads of experience and accolades that the U Mumba debutant wants to use it for self-learning to become ‘raider par excellence’.

“Making it to the Indian team is the ultimate dream and I hope one day I will be able to realise it, is how the soft-spoken Desai outlined his goals in an interview with Sakal Times on the eve of U Mumba’s last match of the Sonepat leg.

For someone to have taken to this rustic sport when he was in fourth standard, it was a dream come true for Siddharth when he was picked for a good sum by U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 6 auction in Mumbai.

His success story has been nothing short of a fairytale. Having spent his childhood in Chandgad near Kolhapur, kabaddi always was his passion, but it was Pune that brought out the best in him. His transformation from a rustic player to someone who could be depended on was not swift so to say, but it was Baner-Balewadi area that made him what he is today.

It was in the Mayor’s Cup kabaddi and local kabaddi tournaments at the Balewadi sports complex that caught the eye of selectors and Siddharth’s fortunes turned for better. His selection in Maharashtra state team opened the gates for Siddharth and he gladly took up the challenge and in no time he became an important cog in the scheme of State team’s strategies.

Maharashtra won National title after a gap of 14 years and Siddharth’s role in that gold medal was more than relevant. Scouts spotted him soon after but Siddharth said “I had no expectation from the player’s auction but when I got picked I decided to give full focus on training and gelling with the team.”

Moving to yet another city is always a challenge for any athlete, but Siddharth’s passion for Kabaddi brought the best out of him. “In my debut year for Maharashtra I got the chance to play alongside Rishank (Devadiga) and learnt a lot from him. Nationals was an eye-opener and when we won the gold medal I thought I had achieved one of my goal,” is how Siddharth described his first major gold medal win.

And, after being picked by U Mumba, Siddharth has been relentless with his raids and points earning. He was the ‘best player’ of the first match U Mumba played of the PKL Season 6, in the opening leg in Chennai and he kept the momentum up in the second match too and returned with yet another best player award. Siddharth had earned 15 points in the first match and 8 in the second that raised his confidence manifold.

“My captain Fazel Attrachali has been very supportive. He is Iranian and talks the language of kabaddi, which I understand very clearly,” said Siddharth when asked if language was any barrier between the two.

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