We had been the undefeated force at the Asian Games since the introduction of kabaddi in the continental competition. A loss at the 2018 Games was the first time that we couldn’t grab the pole position. This is a testimony that other countries are catching up by playing in our league and even defeating us at biggest international showdowns.
If we are to sustain our legacy, we need to have a larger pool of players and this is where the arises the need of an Indo International Premier Kabaddi League (IPKL). Our prime objective is to give more options and the best possible talent to the selectors.
A journey that started with a rigorous selection process with a panel of Arjuna awardees and previous international players conducting trials across 16 cities ended up receiving over 4000 registrations. This is a greater testimony of the fact that one league isn’t enough. There is more scope and demand for the game of kabaddi to expand and reach greater heights.
After this gruelling selection process, we have been able to narrow down on 160 players, which includes 146 home-grown talents who have been drafted into eight franchises. The draft has ensured that every team gets a fair chance of competing against each other along with a majority representation of local players adding to the level of game in the league and also truly showcasing a team that represent that particular region.
My confidence is further boosted after seeing the efforts of New Kabaddi Federation and the broadcasting partners who wish to ensure that IPKL turns out to be a visual treat for the audience.In addition, the league is going to inject a new sense of ownership and accountability into the players as they are not mere players in the league, but the very stakeholders in the overall success of the league. This is a step towards creating a robust pipeline of players for the national team and will act as a supplement to re-establishing our supremacy in the sport.(The writer is an Arjuna awardee and former captain of the Indian kabaddi team). PMG