Deepak Hooda, captain of the Indian Kabaddi team and also leader of the Jaipur Pink Panthers franchise in the Pro Kabaddi League, went on with his business in terms of his fitness schedule and practice even when the country was under lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The 26-year-old all-rounder, had set up a makeshift gym on the terrace of his house to continue with his weight training. “I won’t lie, it was difficult at the beginning but what worked for me is that I had bought weights just days before the lockdown was announced. So, I set up a gym at my place and I used to exercise daily and do my weight training.
“I even used to go for morning runs near the highway, or to our fields and used to run for 10-15 kilometers,” added the Rohtak-based kabaddi player.
Just like any other kabaddi player, Hooda was waiting for this season’s league to begin but due to the pandemic, like many other sports events, this year’s Pro Kabaddi league got cancelled. It was supposed to be a season of redemption for Panthers and Hooda both. Despite a bright start, Hooda’s team hit a slump, lost back-to-back matches and failed to qualify.
“We lost two or three of our main players right in the middle of the tournament. Even I fell sick after landing in Chennai. Hence, we lost our rhythm and we took too much time to find that back thus we failed to qualify.”
“Even we were disappointed when the league got postponed this year because as a team, we were raring to go. But we are happy that the schedule of the next year’s league and the date of the auction will be announced next month.”
Sreenivas Reddy, coach of the franchise too echoed Hooda’s thoughts, as he said that the Panthers thinktank has already evaluated their team and they have a plan ready for the next auction, to further strengthen the squad.
“We have analysed our squad and we have marked the areas where we could strengthen ourselves, we are sure we’ll form an even better squad and win the tournament next season.”
The Panthers captain and coach also shared their experience of the shoot of the documentary that has premiered on Amazon Prime Video named ‘Sons of The Soil’.
Hooda said, “Initially, we did face some trouble because we were asked to repeat our practice if the shots weren’t good but gradually it became normal. They became a part of our team eventually.”
“It was completely a new experience for me because before that I had never faced the camera. But as days went by, we almost forgot that people were filming us, it was done so smoothly,” Reddy opined.
Sons Of the Soil, the docuseries takes the fans behind the scenes on the journey of the Jaipur Pink Panthers, the Pro Kabaddi League team from Rajasthan owned by Abhishek Bachchan. The show is an unscripted sports documentary series directed by Alex Gale. Produced by BBC Studios India, the show follows the inspiring journey and dedication of the team during the seventh season of Pro Kabaddi League, as they strive to win the season championship for the second time, after their win in the first season of the league.