Pro Kabaddi League 2019: Amid old friends, raider Rahul Chaudhari finds a new home
To say that raider Rahul Chaudhari has been the face of Telugu Titans would be an understatement. He has been the face of the entire Pro Kabaddi League since the first edition of the competition five years ago. But after six seasons with Titans, Chaudhari has finally bid a bittersweet farewell to the franchise, after it yet again failed to book a spot in the playoffs last year. The star raider was bought by Tamil Thalaivas, as a measure to boost their raiding department.
“I am feeling great to be a part of a new team after five years with Telugu Titans. When I first wore the Tamil Thaliavas jerey, it felt a little odd, not wearing Titans jersey. I felt a bit worried if I can fit here. But as I practiced along with all the senior players, with whom I have played before, I adjusted to the team environment very quickly,” Rahul told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.
There is a reason for Rahul’s quick adjustment to his new home - an old friend, Ajay Thakur.
“I feel Ajay Thakur and I will be a dangerous raiding combo. Everytime I have played with Ajay for India, or even during the practice, my performance has always gone up. Ajay and I have always taken our team to the final whenever we have played together. We have won 99 percent of tournaments together, whether it be international events, or the Nationals. I hope I will be able to do something outstanding this year in Ajay’s presence,” the raider said.
Recalling the start of his friendship with Ajay, he added: “When I was first bought by Thalaivas, I felt great that I will be playing with Ajay. He was the one who brought me into the national team, and we went to overseas tour together. We will give our 100 per cent this year. We will not let our team go down easily. This year, we will not leave any shortcomings,” he said.
Rahul had an average season last year with injuries hampering his campaign. But this year, he feels he is fully fit and has learnt how to work around his injuries. “Titans suffered last year because we did not have a very strong raider other than me. We could not reach the final. We started well and won five games on the trot, but then my injuries got worse, so we started dipping. I worked on my injuries. I practiced how to work around them. This year, I feel 100 per cent fit,” he said.