V Hariharan is one of the most unassuming characters in the Prime Volleyball League. Brought by the Kolkata Thunderbolts for INR. 3.30 lakh ahead of the 2023 season, the setter has gone about his business rather quietly.
The 29-year-old, who speaks only inTamil has risen to become a vital player for the Thunderbolts, despite struggling to communicate fluently with his teammates.
“Language is not a problem,” he relays to The Bridge in Tamil.
“Everyone understands a bit of Hindi, English, or Tamil, so we manage it. On the court at times we do not even have to resort to talking,” says Hariharan, who has been with the team since their pre-season camp started in early January last month.
The defending champions currently sit third on the points table with an extra match in hand and look set to make it to the semifinals for the second time in as many years.
Talking about their season so far, Hariharan, “Everything is going according to the plan. We have team meetings and are executing whatever the coach wants us to on the court. Everyone is putting in the hard yards and we are confident.”
Having picked up volleyball when he was as young as 9, Hariharan has grown leaps and bounds. He has represented the Indian team on multiple occasions and has even captained the Indian youth team back in 2014.
“Right from when I started playing volleyball in fourth grade, I have always dreamt of representing India. I will always be grateful to have gotten the chance to wear that jersey,” he says.
Hariharan credits his mother – a former basketball player, for his foray into the sport.
“My mother used to play basketball, she always wanted to see me play some sport and pushed me into volleyball when I was a kid. She was the one who encouraged me to join the SADT Sports Hostel when I was just in the eighth grade,” he reveals.
The Tamil Nadu lad, who got married less than a year ago, credits his wife for his success on the court.
“I got married last year. It was a love marriage – she is also a volleyball player, and we met at a camp. I cannot thank her enough for her support,” he gushes.
Hariharan believes that the advent of PVL has brought with it great things for Indian volleyball.
"A lot of people in rural India are taking interest in volleyball since PVL started. Back in my village too, a lot of kids have started taking up volleyball and a lot more clubs have come up. It is so good to see volleyball develop so much," he says.