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Coach Rakesh Kumar key for Haryana's improved show in Pro Kabaddi: Kandola

Haryana's lead raider Vikas Kandola said Haryana's coach Rakesh Kumar has helped the player improving several tactics such as earning a bonus point, scoring raid points

Anish Kumar 

Vikas Kandola, haryana Steelers
Haryana Steelers' Vikash Kandola in action

has climbed to the third position on points table, buoyed by the performance of lead raider Vikas Kandola. In 14 matches this season, Kandola has scored 138 points.

Kandola, who hails from Budayan village in Haryana's Jind district, has been brilliant in different situations, be it 'Do or Die' (DoD) or 'Super Tackle'. He has a 54 per cent success rate in DoD raids and has scored 27 raid points. In Super Tackle, he has a strike rate of 81 per cent.

Ahead of Haryana Steelers' home leg, Business Standard chatted with Vikas Kandola. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

Who is your role model in Kabaddi?

I have always wanted to emulate (Haryana Steelers) coach Sahab (Rakesh Kumar) since childhood. He is my idol. It is quite heartening that he is also my coach this season. I think my game has improved significantly under him.

How has coach Rakesh Kumar improved your game?

Coach Rakesh Kumar has shared so many things with me, including how to earn bonus points. He told me to have a different approach in all the raids, as sometimes there are different Defender in position (DIP) in a game. I am trying to learn as much I can from him. Personally, it's a blessing to have Rakesh Kumar as the coach of

Do you think your rib injury at the start of the season derailed Haryana Steelers' performance?

I missed a couple of matches at the start of the season due to rib injury. After my return, our team performed well as I was able to take crucial raid points and frankly speaking, this is my best season so far.

How do you see Haryana Steelers’ performance so far?

It has been satisfying, but the job is only half done. We want to win all four home matches and look to finish in the top two of the points table. However, the ultimate aim is to win the trophy because the team is playing so well.

What are the reasons for Haryana Steelers’ improved performance this season?

The coach Sahab is a major difference. Under his guidance, we have jelled well as a team. We are not focusing on individual performance. I think this season, we are playing as a unit and not focusing on individual performance, and this is the reason we are doing so well.

Kandola on sports as a career option

Honestly speaking, I started playing Kabaddi to get a job through the sports quota. But it is not like that anymore. I have realised I can do much better than just looking for a job. I realised this (Kabaddi) is my real calling when I heard the chant of my name during the games. My aim is to stay fit and keep winning matches for my country and club.

First Published: Thu, September 26 2019. 19:08 IST