PKL 2021: Will drop myself if I don't perform well: Patna Pirates captain Prashanth Rai
The newly appointed captain of the Patna Pirates, Parshanth Rai, opens up about PKL 2021 in an interaction with The Bridge.
The Patna Pirates come into the PKL 2021 with some major changes to their squad. They will not only be playing sans Pardeep Narwal but also have a newbie PKL captain in Prashanth Kumar Rai – a player who will also make his first appearance for the men in green this season.
"I cannot say there is no pressure on me. Patna Pirates are a three-time champion. Leading such a team is a big responsibility. Our coach and team management have shown a very big trust in me to lead this side and I am eager to prove myself as a captain," says Prashanth Kumar Rai in an exclusive interaction with The Bridge.
Despite the absence of Pardeep Narwal, the Pirates' raiding department looks as strong as ever with Sachin Tanwar, Monu Goyat and the young Guman Singh to accompany Rai.
"Sachin and Monu Goyat are proven performers in the PKL. They have done a good job season after season. We also have the young Guman Singh – the entire team is excited to see how he goes whenever he gets the opportunity. Hopefully, with all the time we have spent practising, we will click together as a unit once the season starts," the captain states.
One of the toughest challenges of being a captain is to handle the players and bring the entire team together as one. How will Prashanth handle someone like a Monu Goyat – once the most expensive player in PKL, but bought for his base price this year with no other team showing interest in him?
"I genuinely believe, I am just the captain on paper. This is a team game and every member is important. Monu is a professional player and he knows what is expected from him. We are not worried about what a Monu Goyat or a Sachin Tanwar will do."
He also went on to state that he would not shy away from dropping himself from the team if his performance does not match the required level.
"We have some very talented youngsters waiting in the wings. All of them are just hoping they get at least one opportunity. The competition is cut-throat. If I am not performing well, I will not shy away from dropping myself from the team," the veteran explains.
Prashanth Kumar Rai has been one of those players who quietly goes on about his job, but never really comes into the limelight. Will this change this year, with him being the captain?
"I never think about it. Individual accomplishments take a backseat when you play a team sport like Kabaddi. You will probably see me showing a lot more emotions this time around, I feel," Prashanth chuckles.
Being confined to a bio-bubble can be taxing – multiple sports stars have spoken across various sports have come forward and spoken about the same. But, Prashanth feels his team is now used to life in the bubble.
"This is the second time we have entered the bubble. We were in a bio-bubble during our preparation camp in October. Even during that time, we were quarantined for four days and followed proper covid-19 protocols. We are used to it now. The bubble has also helped in team bonding, the team environment is pretty relaxed. We do not have any injury concerns and are raring to go."