Chennai one of the greatest sporting centres, says Sachin

The cricketing icon, who co-owns the Chennai franchise of the Pro Kabaddi League, says that he likes the way Tamil Nadu supports every sporting event.

Sachin Tendulkar will be co-owning the Chennai franchise of the Pro Kabaddi League along with Nimmagadda Prasad.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Sachin Tendulkar walked down memory lane as he spoke about his passion for kabaddi. The cricketing icon seemed nostalgic while discussing the reason behind co-owning the Chennai franchise of the Pro Kabaddi League, along with Hyderabad-based entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad.

“We have all played kabaddi at one stage or the other. I played in my school days. In fact, there are three Indian sports which formed an integral part of our curriculum — kabaddi, kho kho and ‘langdi’. Then you had the other games,” Sachin said in an exclusive chat with Sportstar from Mumbai.

“The reason why we chose Chennai is pretty simple. I consider it as one of the greatest sporting centres in the world itself and a huge supporter of all sports. I played a lot of cricket and I admire the way they promote any sport. And, especially kabaddi too has a huge following in this part of the country. I am sure the fans will support the team in a big way,” Sachin explained.

“I enjoyed watching the first season of the PKL. The atmosphere and the energy on show were something really special. I really liked the whole experience of being there,” the batting maestro of yesteryears said.

Sachin was also amazed with the way the fans responded to the PKL. “In fact, my son was also talking a lot about it. When we had a meeting of the players, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease with he was reeling off the names of the familiar names in PKL and also their performances. You could actually feel it,” Sachin remarked, adding: “This League has caught up with the imagination of the younger generation. They are so much involved and engaged.”

“I don’t look at this venture with Mr. Prasad as a partnership. I would put it this way: partnership is dimaag se and friendship dil se. He fits into the second category having known him for years. We value our friendship which is like Test cricket format lasting for ever,” Sachin said.

“Mr. Prasad is one of those who not only follows sports but understands them. And, that is the reason why he is so passionate and always with a cause. That’s why we deeply value our friendship,” the cricketing great pointed out.

Prasad, on his part, made it clear that he would be talking to the Star Sports officials regarding the venues. “We expect complete support from the Tamil Nadu Government. Though we are outsiders, we adopted this state for this sport,” said Prasad, who was the first entrepreneur to donate Rs. 3 crores to Pullela Gopi Chand to go ahead with his Badminton Academy plans in the formative years.

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