Thakur backs India to put do or die show in Kabaddi Masters Dubai

India took on its arch-rival the last time in its triumphant campaign of the Asian Championship Iran in 2017 when it defeated Pakistan 36-22 in the final.

Being the first game of the tournament, the 32-year-old Ajay Thakur said that it would be under a “bit of pressure”. (File Photo)   -  R.V. Moorthy

Back at the helm to captain India, star raider Ajay Thakur on Wednesday said that it would go all out against Pakistan in the tournament opener of the six-nation ‘Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018’ from June 22 to 30.

India took on its arch-rival the last time in its triumphant campaign of the Asian Championship Iran in 2017 when it defeated Pakistan 36-22 in the final.

“We all are very excited to take on Pakistan after a long time. The feeling is always different when you face Pakistan. We will put up a do-or-die show,” Thakur, who is known as ‘Do-or-Die’ specialist raider, said in an interview from Dubai.

Being the first game of the tournament, the 32-year-old said that it would be under a “bit of pressure”. “There’s a bit of pressure obviously when you take on Pakistan in the first match. Pressure will be on both sides,” he said.

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“There’s an outpouring of responses from several quarters after we are drawn against Pakistan in the ‘Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018’ opener. Everybody is sending us best wishes and saying be watchful.”

The Indian team also boast of top-quality raiders with Rahul Chaudhari, Pardeep Narwal, Rohit Kumar, Rishank Devadiga and Monu Goyat. It is equally strong in defence with Deepak Hooda, Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada, and Girish Ernak lending a fine balance.

“Our team is very balanced and most of the members are very young. That’s the biggest plus point. You play with aggression when you’re a young side,” he said.

Four players in the team — Monu Goyat, Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Niwas Hooda and Rishank Devadiga — made headlines at 2018’s Pro Kabaddi League auctions when they joined the ‘Crorepati club’.

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Asked whether that would put them under more pressure, Thakur said: “They are very good players and they deserved it. They have worked hard. I don’t think there will be additional pressure on them.”

Thakur played for Bengaluru Bulls in the first two seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League before moving on to Puneri Paltans for the third season. Thakur is representing Sachin Tendulkar’s side Tamil Thalaivas since 2017 season.

With the six-nation tournament coming just a few weeks before the Asian Games in Indonesia, the Tamil Thalaivas skipper said that it would give it an excellent opportunity to sort out its “mistakes“.

“The tournament will give us an excellent opportunity to rectify our mistakes ahead of the Asian Games. We will have enough time to get over our weakness and give our best for the Asian Games,” Thakur, who was the Best Raider in 2016 World Cup, said. The Kabaddi Masters will also feature Asian giants Iran and South Korea, along with newcomers Kenya and Argentina.

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