Pro Kabaddi: Sukesh Hegde to lead the charge for youthful Fortune Giants

Previous seasons with Telugu Titans saw Hegde deliver match-winning performances, now he has moved up a rank to be among captains in the expanded league.

Gujarat Fortune Giants will be banking on the experience and star quality of Sukesh hegde (R) in its maiden campaign of the PKL.   -  Nagara Gopal


Sukesh Hegde is expected to bear a huge ressponsibility on his broad shoulders. Leading a side for the first time in Pro Kabaddi, the marquee player in Gujarat Fortune Giants (GFG) squad is getting used to multiple roles in a new franchise under a new management. Previous seasons with Telugu Titans saw him deliver match-winning performances, now he has moved up a rank to be among captains in the expanded league. “I am looking to coaches for guidance. As captain for the first time in Pro Kabaddi, I am expected to do my role and also decide for the team,” said the Vijaya Bank employee, reluctant to step into the spotlight away from the game.

He is reluctant in dealing with fame and recognition away from the game. Four seasons in Pro Kabaddi as a raider oozing power and style has got him more than his share of fans at work. “People taking selfies and photographs at a branch office was too much, so I requested for a posting where I do not need to deal with the public face-to-face. Vijaya Bank put me in the recovery section where I deal with customers on the phone. I am not expected to identify myself, so now workplace is peaceful. I am given a list of names and numbers to contact and speed up in recovery process.”

Four seasons with Telugu Titans earned him fame, and now as captain of Fortune Giants making its debut in Pro Kabaddi, Hedge will command the deserved respect to go with his achievements. For this Udipi-based resident, Kabaddi breakthrough happened at the right time with a life working in hotels waiting on the other side. “Working in hotels, sometimes far away from home in cities like Mumbai, is normal for teenagers from Udipi. I was lucky to be part of a successful Mangalore University kabaddi team. After our show in the 2012 All-India Inter-University tournament in Ajmer, Vijaya Bank recruited five from that squad on a sports quota,” said Hegde, whose brother is employed in a hotel in Mumbai.

Having worked to get away from public fanfare for a major part of the year, there will be no scope for anonymity for Hegde once the new season of Pro Kabaddi commences on July 28. Adani Wilmar Limited, the team owners, expects its captain to lead the way, which the 28-year-old relishes. “We have the youngest side this season, so my role as captain is crucial,” said Hegde, whose work in the forefront as raider will decide his team’s fortunes. “Iranians Fazel Atrachali, Abozar M in the defence are top class. The seniors need to show the way to victory.”

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