Sharath Kamal: Kabaddi is a big hit in India

Veteran paddler Sharath Kamal claimed that kabaddi has become a popular sport among the Indian audience.

Sharath Kamal recently lead his side Chennai Lions to the title victory in the Ultimate Table Tennis championship by defeating Dabang Delhi in the final.   -  PTI

After winning the third season of the Ultimate Table Tennis league, India’s veteran paddler graced the third day of Pro Kabaddi League’s Chennai leg with his presence in the commentary box.

“I was a bit nervous initially, but I kept it simple. I drew references from table tennis when asked about fitness, strategy and mental fitness by my co-commentator,” he told Sportstar.

Kamal, who attended a kabaddi match for the first time in a stadium, is an ardent follower of the sport and has been watching PKL since the third season. “It was my first time at a live Kabaddi match. I have watched it on TV, the but real energy can only be felt when you are in the stadium.

“(When) you go to a restaurant or a public space, you see people watching kabaddi. The sport is definitely very popular and it’s a big hit. Moreover, the technicalities can easily be grasped on the television.”

The 37-year-old, when asked about any similarities between kabaddi and table tennis, commented: "There are many similarities when it comes to finesse and strategy building, the way defenders support the raiders and coaches sharing their advice. This is what sport is all about — having each other’s back.”

A fan of Tamil Thalaivas, Kamal picked skipper Ajay Thakur as his favourite player. When asked which role he would if he took up kabaddi, Kamal said: “I would be a raider, of course. That’s how I play — serve and smash. I cannot defend. Also, my big forehand drive would probably help with running hand touches."

The Indian paddler is currently in his home town Chennai after leading Chennai Lions to a thunderous 8-1 victory over Dabang Delhi.

“It was great to win the league. I had not been part of the final till now, but it was good to win the final it in my first appearance. The semifinal was our true test. We were trailing 1-5, then we took it to 6-6 and eventually Madhurika Patkar won it for us. We rode on that confidence in the final and lifted the trophy,” he concluded.