Gujarat Fortunegiants have been, without a doubt, the most consistent team in the past two seasons. After making their Pro Kabaddi League debut in 2017, the Giants have made it to the finals in both seasons they have played so far. Coach Manpreet Singh has played a crucial role in their success by building a team around young and exciting players. And Gujarat Fortunegiants’ star defender Parvesh Bhainswal is one of the finest gems Manpreet Singh has ever unearthed.
The 22-year-old was Gujarat’s best defender last season and second-best in the league. This time around, Parvesh is once again playing a pivotal role in the team’s defensive unit.
In an exclusive interview with KreedOn, the man from Haryana bared his all. A jolly personality to speak with, Parvesh opened up about how he got about ‘Kabadding‘, his real inspiration, and how PKL has changed his life.
Living in the small village named Sonepat, Kabaddi was nothing new to Parvesh. In fact, he grew up watching everyone around him play the same sport. “We come from a village which is very famous for nurturing sportspersons,” he reflects.
However, it was his brother Survesh Malik who inspired Parvesh to take up the sport he is now so skilled at. Suvesh played kabaddi in the nationals. It was with him that the young Parvesh started going to the ground and learned the initial tricks and trades of the game from him.
“I used to follow and play a lot with him too. Since I wanted to play for the village, Survesh helped me out by making me practice,” he recalls.
By the time he was 12-13, Parvesh had already made up his mind to become a Kabaddi player. And the youngster has never looked back since then. His brother has always been an ardent supporter of Parvesh and an influential figure in his life.
Rise in PKL
After impressing everyone playing at the University nationals and Indian Junior side, Parvesh was picked up by Jaipur Pink Panthers for season 4.
His parents were the happiest persons on earth after their beloved son got a break in the Pro Kabaddi. “They were very happy like all parents are when they see their child do something big,” he says.
Although the Panthers made it to the final, the then 19-year old Parvesh was hardly used throughout the season. He picked up just 3 tackle points in 7 matches.
But the down-to-earth guy that Parvesh is, his comments about the debut season were nothing but of gratefulness. “Kaafi sikhne ko mila…” (I got to learn a lot), is how the defender summed up his time with Jaipur.
From Jaipur to Gujarat’s main man
Four new teams were added to the Pro Kabaddi league before the start of the fifth season. Gujarat Fortunegiants was one of them, and a certain Manpreet Singh was appointed as the head coach of the new franchise.
Manpreet was a former coach of ONGC, which had lost to Haryana in the semi-finals of the domestic tournament in 2016. But the coach was impressed by one of Haryana’s defender – Parvesh Bhainswal. Manpreet made sure the youngster was signed by Gujarat for their first season. And since then, Parvesh has been the vital player for the Giants.
Gujarat managed to finish at the top of their group in both seasons they have played so far. So we asked the defender about the secret behind his team’s success. “We start our training camp two months before the start of the season. One month of it is completely dedicated to fitness training. Our coach helps us with everything from fitness to game plans. He makes us work out thrice a day.”
Parvesh has enormous respect for his coach and calls him “Coach-Saab”. And the defender pointed out one thing Gujarat team is famous for. “The special thing about our team is that we are a group of young players with very few superstar names amongst us.” Without any big name in their squad, Manpreet has taken the group of young and exciting players and has turned them into a team to reckon with.
Iss Baar Chhodna Nahi
But of course, two defeats in two consecutive finals is a difficult pill to swallow. Parvesh was part of both the finals as he narrowly missed out the winner’s medal. But the 22-year old was a sport enough to accept his team’s mistakes in the past two finals and is confident of getting hands on the trophy this time around.
“Iss baar chhodna nahi is our motto for the season.” The defender pointed out how his team has sometimes taken things lightly when the scoreboard is in their favour. And Manpreet Singh has asked them to avoid those mistakes in this season because as Parvesh said, “Jo galtiya do baar ki hai wo firse nahi karenge aur iss baar to trophy uthayenge”.
According to Parvesh, no one team can be pointed out as the biggest threat for PKL 7 based on the big names in the side. “We don’t have big stars on our team; we are a team of young players. So regardless of the team and players, the team which will perform on the mat will be the side to reckon with.” No wonder he is calm and composed on the mat as well!
Favourite Players & Role Model
We asked Parvesh about his favourite raiders and defenders. And unsurprisingly, big names like Rahul Chaudhari and Pardeep Narwal came out in the raiding department. In defence, Parvesh was quick to name Fazel Atrachali and Surjeet Singh as best defenders. In fact, the 22-year old has played with the experienced Iranian in the 5th season.
But when it comes to role model, Parvesh Bhainswal has absolutely no doubts about it. For the defender, Indian legend Anup Kumar is the player he looks up to. Parvesh has also not forgotten his brother’s contribution and credits him for success.
When he is not training, Parvesh loves to hang out with his friends. The defender likes watching movies, and Akshay Kumar is his favourite actor – Khiladi for a reason!
The Pro Kabaddi Effect
Parvesh knows the importance of Pro Kabaddi in his life. He thanks PKL for giving Kabaddi players a platform to show their talent. “Nobody knew us before this, who we were, what were our names, nothing. But today, people know us a little better – Pro Kabaddi ki den hai!”
The defender is also aware of the KBD Juniors initiative. Thanks to PKL, a lot of young kids are turning to Kabaddi as a serious career option. “We receive a lot of messages on Instagram with people asking tips about Kabaddi, asking us how to make it big in the game. In my village itself, there are almost 150 kids who practice daily.”
Parvesh has a only one message for the young generation – “Keep practising and working hard, it will all bear fruits one day.”
This comes from a man who has went on to feature in two finals only to return trophy-less. But not this time! Take up the topic of missing the title twice and a confident Parvesh Bhainswal quips back instantly, “Abki baar trophy nahi chhodenge!”
When it comes to his life, Parvesh has a lot planned for the future. The 22-year old wants to represent his country and win multiple laurels. And the way he is going, that day is not far.