As soon as the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) and the much awaited 2019 World Cup gets over, the action will shift from the pitch to the mats with the Pro Kabaddi League's (PKL) seventh season commencing from July 19.
The auctions for the upcoming edition concluded in Mumbai on Tuesday as each of the 12 franchises fought hard to get the best possible players in their camp and Dabang Delhi's coach Krishan Kumar Hooda is also satisfied with his team and believes that Naveen Kumar Goyat will lead the team from front in the raiding department.
Speaking to IANS after the auctions, Hooda said apart from Naveen, the Delhi team with the likes of Chandran Ranjit, Meraj Sheykh, Ravinder Pahal and Vishal Mane has the capability to perform better than last year wherein they made to the play-offs. The coach expressed faith in his team which has a mixture of young and experienced players.
"We have players like Naveen, Pahal and Joginder in our ranks. They are the big names of Pro Kabaddi and have always delivered whenever the team needed. My team is strong in every department of the game as we have some great talents both in raiding and defence. This team will certainly give result," Hooda said.
The coach was also all-praise for Naveen, who accumulated a staggering 177 points from just 22 matches last season and became a big trouble for the opposing defences throughout the tournament.
"Naveen is very young and an exceptional player. I certainly have high expectations from him. He was at his best last season and believe me, he will get even better this time. I can assure you that Naveen will not only be at his best this time, but will also lead the Delhi team from the front," Hooda said.
Commenting on how the auctions went for the team, the coach expressed happiness and said it worked as per the franchise's strategy.
"We are very happy with the selections we made at the auctions. Our strategy was just to maintain the consistency from the previous season and keep our core team," he explained.
"We have successfully executed our plan. I am confident that we have a well-balanced side. Players like Meraj, Pahal, Joginder and Vishal Mane will form the backbone of the Delhi team. Moreover, young players like Naveen and Ranjit have immense talent and their support will put Delhi on the top," Hooda added.
Explaining what makes a kabaddi team the best, Hooda said it's the defenders who mostly wins matches for any side.
"For any team, their defence should be strong as they win matches for you. After the auctions, I think we have that with the likes of Joginder, Pahal, Vishal and Saeed Ghaffari," he said.
Delhi had missed their maiden title last season by an edge after losing to UP Yoddha in the Eliminator 3 and it was also the first time in PKL history that the Joginder-led side entered the knock-out stage.
(Kaushik Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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