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‘Kabaddi has bright future’

Abhishek Bachchan and Usha Uthup with fans, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: The inaugural edition of the Pro-Kabaddi League seems to be a hit, given the crowd attendance in the matches and the enthusiasm of the players so far.

Given the amount of interest being shown towards the competition, the popularity of kabaddi could well go on to match that of cricket, said Jaipur Pink Panthers owner Abhishek Bachchan.

In his first-ever visit to the Netaji Indoor Stadium, minutes prior to the start of the Jaipur franchise’s game versus Telugu Titans, Abhishek said: “On seeing the passion of the kabaddi players and the kind of popularity the game still enjoys, I really became fascinated with it.

“Not just players of my team, but those of the other sides are also an inspiration for the country. Considering the kind of interest and excitement surrounding this competition, I feel kabaddi’s popularity could be on par with that of cricket and hockey in the next five to six years… Presently, it’s awesome…”

The Bollywood actor feels inception of these franchise-based leagues will lead to further improvement of sports in India.

“I believe tournaments such as this Pro-Kabaddi League, ISL (Indian Super League) and the likes will help bring about an overall improvement in sports,” he said.

Abhishek said he would have loved to invite Sourav Ganguly for the Pink Panthers’ first match in this part of the nation. “I would love to invite Sourav, but he is in England at the moment. Sourav’s presence could’ve inspired our team further.”