This blog post is in reply to the piece which I came across in the Economic Times titled ”Kabaddi’s struggle with obscurity” (dated 25th August) written by esteemed writer Shamya Dasgupta.
That piece by Shamya is indeed well-written as it always is and it is fairly evident that the writer has done a fair deal of research before compiling it. However, going by the rule that everyone is entitled to their opinion I wish to beg differ on a few points written by him. Shamya is a knowledgeable man and I don’t mean in any way to disrespect him.
First of all, I really loved the way Shamya has described that finale of the ProKabaddi. Kudos to him.
But he further goes ahead to suggest that the organizers of the ProKabaddi League should ideally be looking to make it an year-round league considering the response that it has garnered in the first two seasons. I would like to remind the writer that Kabaddi is no cricket (however harsh it may seem but its a fact). And to think that two tournaments in a year would be a success then it would be foolhardy to think of it that way. Even something like the IPL, if played round the year wouldn’t be appreciated by the Indian crowd. Also, the novelty of the tournament would wear off. Also, to think that the broadcasters would be willing to pay a premium for it, is laughable.
Instead we should be looking at strengthening the the sport at the grassroot-level. We need more local tournaments with local sponsors. We need to mount pressure on the AKFI and the Government to promote this sport especially because these two have been responsible for the pitiable state of it in the country. Also private business houses should shed their inhibition and associate themselves with the sport, be it financially or in any other way.
The kind of response that ProKabaddi League has received, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the India has tremendous quality in their ranks. But as a matter of fact, barring only a handful few India is facing serious dearth in quality. Take Maharashtra for example, which has produced tremendous players in the past. However in the ProKabaddi League were only a select few. Rishank, Vishal Mane, Kashiling Adake, Nilesh Shinde etc. This only underlines the fact that we need to invest a lot in the local talent.
Countries like Iran are making terrific improvements in the sport of Kabaddi. And then there is Pakistan as well. South Korea and Japan are there too. If we look at only the commercial aspect of the sport, then it wouldn’t be long before these countries overtake India in Kabaddi. More like what happened to hockey over the years.
Now coming back to the point, the success of ProKabaddi League lies in the fact that it is played only once every year over a months’ period.