No time for experiments as Puneri Paltan aims for top spot in Pro-Kabaddi League, says team coach
The Puneri Paltan team is currently sitting pretty at the third place in Pool A of Pro-Kabaddi League. The team has booked their berth in the knock-out phase, and they still have six home matches before the league phase ends.
However, coach BC Ramesh is not ready to sit back and relax. In fact, he is eager to maintain the momentum and keep updating the success formula which worked in previous matches.
“We are in such a position that even if we lose one or two matches, it won’t affect our chances. However, I want to enter the knock-outs with a top spot and will go all out with our full strength,” he said.
Paltan will take on group leaders Gujarat Fortunegiants on October 13. The Gujarat team has been performing consistently well throughout the season and is leading the table with 77 points (13 wins from 20 matches). Haryana Steelers are second with 12 wins from 21 matches (74 points) while Paltan is currently at the third place with 63 points. However, they have played just 16 matches and has already scripted 12 wins.
“Strong defence is Gujarat’s strength and we need to find ways to tackle that. Their four defenders have been playing almost 20 matches without a break. That’s something incredible. Our raiders can do the trick but they need to improve their performance a little bit. I feel that they haven’t played to their full potential yet, and if they do so, it will definitely help the team,” said Ramesh.
Talking about giving exposure to the new and young players, he said, “After Gujarat’s match, we might give them a chance to showcase their skills. However, our first attempt would be to gain a lead with our star raiders and then we would allow the players depending on the situation.”
He also praised the two foreigners, Zia ur Rahman from Bangladesh and Takamitsu Kono from Japan.
“Zia has played a couple of matches and has been doing good. I still expect him to improve his performance. On the other hand, we have featured Kono in just one match. We are still working on him. His performance has been improving a lot in the past few months and he will definitely be a part of the core team in the future.”
Meanwhile, team captain Deepak Hooda is also upbeat about the team’s performance.
“We have had a good five-day rest before tomorrow’s match. So the players are relaxed and their fitness is also good. Therefore, we will give our best in the next six matches,” he said.
However, he was not happy with his individual performance and said that two injuries are still affecting his game.
“While I was recovering from my earlier injury, I had to face another one, a groin injury, in April. It took time me a lot of time to recover and get back to the rhythm. But I am satisfied that the team is doing well. Therefore, my focus is more on my game and I would do my best,” he said.