PKL is to Kabaddi what IPL is to cricket, says Dinesh Karthik

An ardent Tamil Thalaivas fan, Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik was there to support the Tamil Thalaivas in its first home game of the Pro Kabaddi League.

Dinesh Karthik picked Rishabh Pant as the cricketer who was most likely to play Kabaddi and play it well.   -  Special arrangement

India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik couldn’t resist coming to the inaugural match of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai to cheer for his favourite side Tamil Thalaivas on Saturday.

The PKL, this year, has seen many sports personalities showing their support to their favourite teams, which includes the likes of Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli, spinner Harbhajan Singh and champion para-athlete Deepa Malik.

PKL 2019: Follow the first day of the Chennai leg live

The latest addition to this growing list, Karthik, lauded the league its role in taking the sport to the masses. “From the inception of Indian Premier League, I have realised the influx of other people from other countries coming and playing the sport always adds a different dimension to it. It is the same with kabaddi as well," the cricketer told Sportstar.

“We’ve been world champions but Pro Kabaddi League has taken the sport to another level. The whole of India is watching it, now that it's streaming live on Star. It is a great place to be. The best of the best take part in the sport and there is no better way to grow the sport than this,” said the cricketer, an Ajay Thakur loyalist. Like Harbhajan did in Patna, Karthik also lent a hand with the game's commentary too.

When asked who from the Indian cricket team could try their luck at Kabaddi successfully, Karthik picked Rishabh Pant.

Also gracing the occasion was Indian Paralympic high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu. He represented India in the 2016 Summer Paralympic games held in Rio de Janeiro in the men's high jump T-42 category, winning the gold medal in the finals.

The Chennai leg of the PKL begins on Saturday with the home side Tamil Thalaivas taking on defending champion Bengaluru Bulls. The second match of the day will see Bengal Warriors take on a high-flying Dabang Delhi.