“We do have some hiccups in the team, but we will reach the finals,” says a confident Davinder Singh Bhullar, on Telugu Talons’ action plan in the inaugural season of the Premier Handball League (PHL).
The PHL 2023 will see six teams go up against each other in a round-robin format that will have 30 matches, followed by three knockout matches to determine the champion.
Davinder, who is a main component of his side’s backline, plays as a left back for the Talons. Davinder has forged a formidable combination with Naseeb and Anil Khudia as the three of them have troubled the opposition regularly. That has been reflected in the four wins that the Talons have fetched out of a possible six.
“The three of us used to play for the same team during our stint with the Indian army. From those days, we used to work on our coordination,” explains Davinder on the chemistry between them in an exclusive chat with Sportstar.
Davinder also credits his head coach Fernando Miguel de Oliviera Nunes, saying the Portuguese played a major role in honing the skills of him and his teammates. “Head coach is very experienced and is from Europe. We are learning a lot from him like how to control situations and how to play to the strengths of our team. Usually, coaches won’t concentrate much on defense, but his inputs have made our defense much better,” he adds.
Standing 6 ft tall at the back, Davinder uses his height to the fullest. He can not only operate defensively but can also move along the flanks, which enables him to not only take shots if needed but also help provide inside the 7-meter line. For his versatility, the 24-year-old was adjudged player of the match in the first two wins of his side and will look forward to maintain his form as Talons takes on Rajasthan Patriots on Saturday.
Following the success of the Pro Kabaddi League and Prime Volleyball League, Davinder believes PHL will be a stepping stone for aspiring handball players. He reckons the sport, which is popular back in his district Sirsa in Haryana, will gain the much-needed spotlight with a tournament of this stature. “ PHL will give an idea about handball to nukes and corners of India. Handball might not be that popular for the rest of you, but back in my area, it is very popular. That’s the reason I was able to pick up handball during my schooling,” says Davinder.
Davinder has ample international experience, he has been a part of the Indian squad, which clinched gold in the 2016 South Asian Games. Having represented India in the 2018 Asian Games, he says that experience will have an impact on his side as well as his teammates.
“Experience is helpful. I’m able to easily understand the tactics when a coach instructs us on something. Additionally, in PHL, we get the opportunity to rub shoulders with excellent players from around the world. With the build-up to the competition and a month-long camp, we are learning a lot from them,” says Davinder.
With the Asian Games just around the corner, Davinder feels this tournament will be a perfect rehearsal. “The trails will happen soon after that camp starts. But right now, we are focusing on PHL, and I believe this will help me prepare best for the event,” he concluded.
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