PKL 2019: Surinder Singh given license to dash at U Mumba

A catcher known for braving solo into tackles, Surinder Singh, also brought home an unexpected tally of four raid points against Gujarat Fortunegiants.

U Mumba skipper Atrachali (C) says he doesn't curb Surinder's style during defending.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A Super Raid by Surinder Singh became the talking point following U Mumba’s 32-20 win over Gujarat Fortunegiants at the NSCI indoor stadium, the concluding tie of Pro Kabaddi League’s second leg.

A catcher known for braving solo into tackles also brought home an unexpected booty of four raid points. He finished as the top scorer for his side on the night -- nine points (four raid points from one raid and five tackle points from seven tackles attempted) -- as the team finished the home leg on a high, with two victories and two losses from four games. The teams next travel to Patna for the third leg.

READ | Mumbai's Pro-Kabaddi players are the new stars on TV

Surinder had taken out four rivals single-handedly (Parvesh Bhainswal, Sunil Kumar, Sumit and Ruturaj went out), in his only raid of the night. The raid enabled the lead to stretch from 20-15 to 24-15 in U Mumba's favour.

U Mumba's coach Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan explained that Gujarat targeted him, treating a player as an unknown raider, and paid the price for their action. “He went on a safe raid, it was supposed to be a defensive raid. Gujarat felt he is not a (regular) raider and sensed an opportunity to catch him. In local tournaments he does raiding, they did not know," said Baliyan.

He added, “The raid (by Surinder) was not as per plan, we had decided to make a substitution and bring in a raider soon after. He got four players out and it was a huge turning point for us. They attacked him, thinking he was an unknown raider and it swung the match our way. Gujarat needed a point and adopted an attacking line against the next raider... it happened to be him (Surinder).”

UM drafted the 20-year-old Surinder for season five from the Future Kabaddi Heroes project as a promising tackler. He was retained by the franchise for the seventh season, one of three defenders it persisted with.

For team captain Fazel Atrachali, who marshals the defence from left corner, managing an impatient teammate requires tact.

Replying to a query about his insight on what goes on in Surinder’s mind during a match, the Iranian explained, “Our styles are different, he is [playing in] three number (position) and a little aggressive in the tackle. I allowed him to play his style, because if I keep telling him to control himself [while] going for the tackle, it will be like binding his hands. I tell him to tackle his way. Mistakes happen with him, but he also wins us points, two mistakes in seven tackles, five points is okay.”