While training in the Railways camp in Delhi, Rohit Kumar received a call from his brother who told him that the Prime Volleyball League Season 2 auction will be streamed live. Rohit along with a few of his Railways team-mates watched the auction attentively. Much to his surprise, his name was called first in the platinum category.
The platinum category was for players with a base price of ₹8 lakh, the highest in the auction. Having dreamt of being the highest bid, Rohit took some time to let the feeling sink in. The bidding war first took place between Mumbai Meteors and Hyderabad Black Hawks, followed by Calicut Heroes entering the bid. However, it was Kochi Blue Spikers that got him at last for ₹17.5 lakh. The bid makes him the most expensive player in league history.
“I was extremely happy that I went for the highest price. I feel that since Kochi has put so much faith in me, I will do my best for the team,” Rohit told Sportstar.
ALSO READ - PVL 2 auction highlights
“The league and fans will have their eyes on me. Questions on whether I will be able to perform, and why I did or didn’t do this and that will be asked. However, I want to focus on just giving my best performance.”
Starting his volleyball journey in 2012 by playing in the streets of Haryana, 14-year-old Rohit progressed to Sports Authority of India, Kurukshetra. He was then selected in the junior India team. By 2017, he was in the senior India team and was soon selected for the Asian Games trials in Aurangabad.
Representing India at the 2018 Asian Games was a dream come true. While India’s performance was not up to the mark (a 12th-place finish), Rohit made a mark. “After the Games, people recognised me, and my parents were extremely happy. That was my happiest moment,” he says.
In the first edition of PVL, the attacker from Haryana attracted a bid of ₹5.3 lakh from the Hyderabad Black Hawks. Rohit was unable to compete in all the matches due to the fractures suffered while playing his third game against Bengaluru Torpedoes. It is a moment he does not want to recall. He chuckles and says, “I kept playing the match against Bengaluru without knowing I had a fracture.”
Later, he found out it was not just one fracture but two. “I had to sit out and kept getting disturbed thinking about the injury as I had put in so much hard work before the league.”
Ashwal Rai, Karthik. A and C. Jerome Vinith received the highest bids last year, worth ₹15 lakh each. The second-highest bid this season was a tie between Chirag Yadav and Ranjit Singh at ₹12.25 lakh.
Rohit is keen on learning new strategies and techniques from the Kochi coach, M. H. Kumara. He also wants to execute what he picked up from the Black Hawks coach, Ruben Wolochin. “Last year, when I was in Black Hawks, the head coach was a foreigner. Every coach has something different to say, and we learn something from every coach. I’m hoping to learn something new from the Kochi Spikers coach,” says the attacker.
Rohit is set to join the Kochi camp next month and bond with his team-mates.