A perennial underperformer in the Pro Kabaddi League, Dabang Delhi will attempt to reverse the narrative come season 6. To ensure a strong back line, the franchise has brought in a few good defenders for the tourney. Vishal Mane, a veteran of 83 matches, will ply his trade for the side this season and will be expected to lead the defensive line-up alongside captain Joginder Narwal, who has an impressive tackle success rate of 47 per cent in 38 matches.
Thirty-year-old Iranian Meyraj Sheykh – an expert raider and defender – will have to lead the attack alongside Shabeer Bapu, Pawan Kumar Kadian and Ranjit Chandran, a raider from Tamil Nadu who was bought for ₹61 lakh. Chandran, who has played 18 matches, has a raid success rate of 31 per cent, the highest in the side.
Another player of value is all-rounder Rajesh Narwal, who, like Meyraj, is a force to reckon with on both fronts. For four seasons with the Jaipur Pink Panthers, Narwal sustained an average of at least four raids per match, and a tackle success rate of at least 33 per cent. However, after he was bought for ₹69 lakh by UP Yoddha, his form dipped. This time, he had to settle for a price of ₹16 lakh, but it could turn out to be a good investment for Delhi if he roars back into form.
The team, which has never reached the playoffs in PKL history, looks well balanced this time, at least on paper.
Player to watch — Meyraj Sheykh
Sheykh has averaged 4.65 raids per match in the last two seasons, yet has failed to inspire Dabang Delhi to greater heights. The costliest member of the team – he was retained for ₹65.55 lakh – will look to continue in the same vein this season, too. Can he find support from the rest?
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