Hyderabad: Like last year, the upcoming Pro Kabaddi League will have only one player from the State. While it was P Mallikarjun in the previous year, who was part of Telugu Titans, G Raju Reddy was bought by the Hyderabad franchise for the upcoming eighth season.
The 21-year-old raider is over the moon and is determined to make the most of the opportunity. “I am very happy to be part of the Telugu Titans. Of course, I was a bit nervous ahead of the auctions. But once I came to know that I was bought by the Titans, I was delighted. My first feeling after the news was to give my best and use the opportunity. I want to do well in the camp and cement my place in the team,” said the youngster.
Raju, who hails from Bheempuram village of Gadwal district, started playing kabaddi at a young age and came through the ranks with impressive performances. “Our village is known for playing kabaddi. So I started playing with my seniors in the village and got selected from my district team to State junior team in 2015 when I was in ninth class. Since then, I have played six nationals,” he said.
He was also part of the SAI junior team that won gold last year. He graduated to the senior team this year and represented Telangana in the nationals held at Ayodhya recently. The youngster caught the attention of the management with his performances with SAI junior national team last year. He was then also adjudged Most Valuable Player in the third season of the Telangana Premier Kabaddi League last year, playing for Warangal Warriors. “Telangana Premier Kabaddi League is a big platform for us to showcase our talent. We also get to know about our standard of the game. It helped us a lot,” he added.
Raju, who trains at the SAI Academy in Gachibowli with coach Srinivas Rao, said he hopes to learn the game from the best in the business like Siddharth Desai, at the Titan’s camp. “I want to do well in the camp and get into the main team. I also get a chance to play with the likes of Siddharth Desai and other top players. I want to learn as much as possible and improve my game,” he revealed.
Speaking about less representation of players from the State in PKL, he felt, “There are very good players in the State. But when compared to northern States, the standard needs to be improved. Our State team needs to do well in nationals. Then only people will start looking at players from our State.” Raju said he aims to become like (Dabang) Delhi raider Naveen Kumar who impressed everyone with his skills at a young age.
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