Dabang Delhi KC shrugged off the “perennial underperformers” tag last year by securing victories against the strongest of teams to make it to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL).
A well-balanced unit is what makes Delhi a serious contender yet this time around. Having retained stalwarts Joginder Narwal and Meyraj Sheykh, coach Kishan Kumar Hooda hasn’t meddled much with the core group at the auctions this year.
The raiders: Aman Kadian, Chandran Ranjit, Naveen Kumar, Neeraj Narwal and Sumit Kumar
The raiding department will be spearheaded by veteran Chandran Ranjit, who had put up a phenomenal show last season combining with the talismanic all-rounder Meyraj Sheykh. The running hand touch specialist will also look forward to gaining able assistance from young gun Naveen Kumar, who became the second youngest to get a Super 10 in the league last season. Naveen, a ‘Right In’ raider, also boasts a mind-boggling strike rate of 56.02%.
Aman Kadian and Sumit Kumar, who had only featured in only one match each last season, might be tested depending upon how Delhi fares in the tournament. Neeraj Narwal, who would be hoping to play his debut PKL match, would be hopeful of leaving a strong impression as well.
The defenders: Mohit, Vishal Mane, Pratik Patil, Ravinder Pahal, Anil Kumar, Saeid Ghaffari, Satywan, Sumit, Joginder Narwal and Sombir
Defence has always been Delhi’s trump card. The FBM (Final Bid Match) feature at the auction saw the franchise bringing back Ravinder Pahal a.k.a. The Hawk back into the lineup for a hefty sum of Rs. 61 lakh.
Pahal at the right corner and the seasoned Joginder Narwal on the left is a lethal combination, one you wouldn’t want to mess with. Both maintain a strike rate close to 50 and both are known for their ‘blink-and-you-miss’ diving holds.
Sombir is another weapon in the side’s arsenal, who has been brought in from the Telugu Titans. He has pocketed 40 points in the 23 matches, and will be eager to improve that tally.
The all-rounders: Balram, Meyraj Sheykh and Vijay
Meyraj Sheykh was one of the two Elite players that the franchise chose to retain, the other being skipper Joginder Narwal. The Iranian Cheetah played an integral role in Delhi’s offensive gameplay last season and with the signature scorpion kick up his sleeve, he is a force to reckon with.
The team management has further invested in more firepower by roping in former Patna Pirates player Vijay, who, in just two seasons, has managed to notch up mind-boggling strike rates of 44.84% and 39.37% in raids and tackles respectively.
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