New Delhi, Aug 23: The Delhi-lef of Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 will begin from Saturday (August 24) at Thaygraj Indoor Stadium. Hosts Dabang Delhi KC - who are placed at the second spot in the points table are aiming to continue their red hot form in their home leg.
Dabang Delhi's senior defender Vishal Mane in an exclusive interview with Mykhel said his team is confident of dominating the home leg unlike other teams, who have failed badly on their home turf in the tournament.
Mane also talked about his personal performance in the tournament and how balanced his team looks in this season. Here are the excerpts:
Mykhel: Dabang Delhi are seated at second spot in the points-table at the moment. How satisfied are you with your team's performance in this season?
Vishal Mane: This is Dabang Delhi's best performance so far in the league stage in the entire Pro Kabaddi history. We are happy with our performance but we don't want to be complacent and our target is to finish the league stage amongst top two or three.
MK: How statisfied are you with your personal performance this season?
VM: I am not at all pleased with my performance because opposition raiders have done their homework well against me. They are not attempting too many bonus points against me so I haven't been able to get too many tackle points. So, I have now started making my strategies accordingly. I sat with the rest of the defenders in my team like my captain Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal. But I have always believed that Kabaddi is a team game and if my team keeps winning then I have no regrets even if I get a single successful tackle. My aim is to keep the opposition raiders on the backfoot whenever they walk into our half because presence of a strong defender on the cover plays with a raider's mind.
MK: How much of help are senior players in the squad to you and other young players?
VM: The role of senior players like Joginder (Narwal) and Ravinder (Pahal) is very important for team's success. Their presence on the mat puts pressure on the opposition raiders and if they are our of the mat then it is my responsibility to handle the players. When all three of us are off the mat then Meraj Sheykh, who is former captain of Iran's national team, leads our team. So its collective responsibility of all the seniors to read the game and execute the strategies accordingly.
MK: How do you guys communicate with Iranian players or players from other nationalities?
VM: Look, the languge we speak is kabaddi. The terms of the game are same so it's not too tough to communicate with each other. And since these players have spent so much of time in India and played so much with us, they also understand little bit Hindi. But overall everyone understands the language of the game.
MK: What are your thoughts about your team's young raider Naveen Kumar, who is second most successful raider in this season?
VM: Naveen's numbers are speaking for himself he's been brilliant for us this season. He's been given the title of 'Naveen Express' by the organisers and what does an express train does, it never stops. So, Naveen is simply unstoppable. Best thing about him is that he never plans his raids in advance. His raids are all instinctive, he makes his decision while raiding. He first checks which is the weak link in the opposition and accordingly makes his moves. He reads the game brilliantly.
MK: Why is it that raiders are not very effective this season? Have defenders come up with some special strategies this season?
VM: There's nothing like that. Players need some time to get into their grooves and that happens with both defenders as well as raiders. I hope the raiders will pick up their form in the coming games. But in the game of Kabaddi, there is an extra pressure on big raiders because they are supposed to make at least 20 raids every game and it isn't easy to maintain the same consistency.
MK: Teams failing to do well in their home legs has been a trend this season. What are your plans for your home leg?
VM: We are confident of doing well in front of our home crowd. Hopefully, we'll not let our fans down in the Delhi-leg.