The 66th match of the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 7 between Dabang Delhi and Patna Pirates marked the mid-point of the league stage of this campaign and the action so far has been nothing short of breath-taking. From Naveen Kumars outstanding nine successive Super 10s to the domination of defenders; the first half of the season was undoubtedly a package full of surprises.
With the beginning of the second half of the league stage, which is the ‘Toughest Half’, captains and coaches of the teams met in Bengaluru to share their thoughts on the first half of the season.
Speaking during the mid-season review press conference, Randhir Singh, coach, Bengaluru Bulls said: “We have completed 13 matches, and at the mid-season the first thing we have realised is that it was very tough. All my fellow coaches here will agree that the competition this season is extreme. Second thing is the beauty of the league which has changed the thought of kabaddi being a raiders game; for the past 6 seasons raiders dominated – but this season there’s a clear domination of defence in all teams.
Newly appointed Puneri Paltan’s coach Anup Kumar also echoed Randhir saying: “This season is indeed tough, all teams are performing well and giving their best shot. But one thing that should be taken care of by coaches is the weaknesses of the team – there have been games where all the seven players perform very well, and some games where all 7 fail. In such situations understanding the problem and fixing it with an alternate
route or strategy is important.”
Joginder Narwal, skipper of Dabang Delhi, who currently tops the points table, said: “We are half-way through the league and no team has a confirmed spot for the playoffs, any team can move up on the table depending upon their performance. However, the one thing that is surely going to happen is that the upcoming matches are going to be some of the toughest ones in the season.
On the other hand, star Iranian defender and U Mumba captain Fazel Atrachali praised the new format of the league saying: “This season is extremely competitive and good for the teams as everyone plays their opponent twice and the ‘luck’ factor is ruled out.”
“In the previous seasons, there were possibilities that either one of the groups would be easier than the other. This is the ideal format, as it gives the teams the right platform to show their game and make the league and the sport tougher,” he added.