"Even I scored 10 points in my debut match" - Mohammad Nabibakhsh says Gujarat Giants will be well prepared for U Mumba's Amirmohammad Zafardanesh

Mohammad Nabibakhsh plays for the Gujarat Giants (Image: Instagram)
Mohammad Nabibakhsh plays for the Gujarat Giants (Image: Instagram)

Mohammad Nabibakhsh has had an excellent start to his Pro Kabaddi 2023 campaign with the Gujarat Giants. The Iranian all-rounder has scored six tackle points in two matches and is second on the list of the most tackle points this season.

Coach Ram Mehar Singh has used Mohammad Nabibakhsh more as a defender this term. Previously, Nabibakhsh played as a raiding all-rounder for the Bengal Warriors in PKL.

After recording two wins in two matches with Gujarat Giants, Mohammad Nabibakhsh caught up with Sportskeeda for an exclusive chat, where he spoke about his new role, kabaddi journey and upcoming challenge against U Mumba. Here are the excerpts:

Excerpts from Mohammad Nabibakhsh's exclusive interview with Sportskeeda:

Q. Gujarat Giants are your third team in PKL after Bengal Warriors and Puneri Paltan. How has been the experience so far?

Mohammad Nabibakhsh: We have Ram Mehar Singh as the coach of our team. My mindset has changed, he is a very good coach. The team has many young players and all of them have been performing well. The Gujarat team now has a good balance.

Q. Tell us about your kabaddi journey.

Mohammad Nabibakhsh: I went to learn wrestling first. In fact, I wrestled for two years. My wrestling coach was a good kabaddi player and after two years, he told me to try kabaddi, and I did well. In wrestling, you are alone, but in kabaddi, you have a team. If the team plays well, all's good. So for 15 years now, I have been playing kabaddi.

Q. We have seen you playing more as a defender this season. So have you transformed from a raiding all-rounder to a defensive all-rounder?

Mohammad Nabibakhsh: This is the plan of our team. The management wants me to play more as a defender. I have no problem. Ram Mehar Singh coach sir told me to play more in defense. I said no problem, the team should win the match.

Q. How important is the presence of Fazel Atrachali in the Gujarat Giants team?

Mohammad Nabibakhsh: I and Fazel have been playing together for eight years. We have played two Asian Games and we were also in Puneri Paltan together last season. Sometimes, Fazel helps me and sometimes, I help him during the match time.

Q. Your next match is against U Mumba. They have got young Iranian raider Mohammadamir Zafardanesh, who scored Super 10 in the first match. Any special strategy for him?

Nabibakhsh: You know, even I scored 10 points in my debut match of Pro Kabaddi League. Now, all teams would have an idea about Zafardanesh. It was the first match and not all teams knew about him. Now, we will plan for him.

Q. Who were your role models in kabaddi?

Nabibakhsh: Anup Kumar and Rakesh Kumar.

Q. How has been your experience in Ahmedabad so far? Any new Indian dish that you tried?

Nabibakhsh: For us, Indian food is not a problem, but some young players are still getting adjusted to the Indian flavors. They don't like spicy food (smiles).

Q. If you had to pick one team that can challenge Gujarat Giants in PKL 10, which team would it be?

Nabibakhsh: All teams are hard. You saw the last match, it was a dangerous game (smiles). All teams are the same. You have to make plans accordingly and try to win.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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