Ahead of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 7, Bengal Warriors is confident that Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh will fill the void created by Jang Kun Lee’s move to Patna Pirates.
Warriors – which secured Nabibakhsh’s signature, an Asian Games gold medallist and a Dubai Masters silver medallist, for Rs 77.75lakh – hopes the season’s costliest import will provide balance to the side.
“Lee had a great time with us in the last few seasons. Nabibaksh is an all-rounder and he has already shown what he can do for Iran in the Asian Games and the Dubai Masters. His work rate can be compared with a player like Pawan Kumar of Bengaluru Bulls. We hope he will definitely contribute more than what Lee did for Warriors. He will take some burden off Maninder (Singh) in the raiding unit,” Warriors coach B.C. Ramesh told Sportstar .
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“We have a very strong raiding unit. With proven players like Maninder, Sukesh Hegde and K. Prapanjan, we have depth at the both ends of the mat.”
Ramesh, who helped Bengaluru to the title last season, said the addition of the experienced Jeeva Kumar would bolster the defence of the Warriors side that lost in the playoffs last season. “Jeeva can play at any position. He is a smart defender who can read the situation of the game and play accordingly.”
“Maninder has improved this time, trying to enhance his skill-set in the practice. If he maintains this, then he can easily emulate his last year’s performance. He will also help in the defence. Prapanjan is fit and learning new things to become a better raider. He needs to improve on his defence though.”
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Ramesh, a former India captain, expected his players to be ‘entertainers.’
The Warriors coach was happy with the new format under which every team would play two matches against each other. “It will end the debate of pool dominance. It will be a challenge for everyone to draw his strategies differently against every team. The playoff race has become wider. We will try to perform well in the league and go beyond the playoffs this time,” he said.