Ahead of the sixth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) in 2018, Dabang Delhi KC roped in former Indian national team coach Kishan Kumar Hooda. A major overhaul of the squad followed, with the likes of Joginder Narwal, Chandran Ranjit, Ravinder Pahal and then 'New Young Player' (NYP) Naveen Kumar picked along with a few new faces.
The changes worked like a charm. The team made it to the playoffs for the first time, where it won two of its eliminators before losing to UP Yoddha in the final one.
With last season’s improvement in mind, the team management hardly meddled with the core group at the season 7 auctions and captain Narwal expects yet another strong showing.
“We have been practising for one and a half months in Delhi now. This time I can say that our preparations are stronger than ever and we will try our best to make the finals this year,” a confident Narwal told Sportstar .
When asked about the new recruits, Narwal sounded optimistic. “All the guys are pretty talented. Yes, I have seen them at training personally. But we have quite some time in hand before we play our first match. Our coach would decide on the final squad, that will completely be his call,” he said.
Kabaddi fans will be treated to some fine string of performances by the Meyraj Sheikh-Vijay duo yet again, believes Narwal. The 37-year-old left-corner defender said, "Meyraj and Vijay, both are extremely gifted and they can get you points both by raiding and defending. They are extremely valuable on either end of the mat. We expect a lot from the duo."
Naveen Kumar, the second-youngest player to pocket a Super 10 in PKL, had been undoubtedly one of the most interesting finds of the franchise last season and has caught the eye of both the captain and coach.
“Naveen is a very unique talent that India possesses and he will surely prove his worth in the days to come,” said head coach Kishan Kumar Hooda.
Narwal concurred saying, “We have all seen how good Naveen had been last season. This season too would be no different. However yes, there were areas which needed to be worked upon and thankfully the coach and the whole team has helped him overcome the errors he used to make from time to time. We are confident of his showing this year. He has gained a lot of confidence as well.”
Team strategy would play a strong part in PKL, especially if a team has matches on consecutive days. In its opening match this season, Delhi will take on a Telugu Titans side spearheaded by the phenomenal Siddharth Desai, who had to withdraw from the tournament early last season with a shoulder injury. However this year he has been declared fit and Narwal agrees that Desai would be a formidable foe on any given day.
"Yes obviously, Siddharth (Desai) is a very talented player. I do not know much about his injury but yes, then again it is not only Telugu Titans that we need to plan against. We would be having regular round-tables with our coach, trainers and management, take out a few hours before each match and discuss strategy regarding how to take on individual players of the opponent, " Narwal signed off.
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