Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Wish we had more time to train Meraj Sheykh, rues Dabang Delhi coach after loss
Meraj Sheykh looked a class apart from his team mates in his team's first encounter against Bengal Warriors
Dabang Delhi started their Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4 campaign on a disappointing note when they lost their opening fixture to Bengal Warriors 31-23 in Mumbai. Thanks to the wide margin of the loss, the team couldn’t even manage a single point from the match. However, Iranian import Meraj Sheykh emerged as the sole bright spot in his team’s dismal performance and won plaudits from both his opponents as well as his coach.
Nilesh Shinde led Bengal Warriors, who had earlier lost to Bengaluru Bulls in their first match of the season, were sublime throughout the 40 minutes of the game and overcame an early challenge by Dabang Delhi to eventually win by a large margin. The two teams had been caught in a close battle early on as the scores read 18-18 at one point before the Dabang Delhi team succumbed under pressure to be all out twice before the final whistle.
For Bengal, Ravi Dalal, who came on as a substitute, left the crowd mesmerized with his raids and won the TVS Tyres Moment of the Match award. However, Delhi’s Meraj Sheykh was adjudged the Best Raider for his superlative performance. Meraj Sheykh not only kept getting points for the team but also saved the team from getting all out on several ocassions. The Iranian had earlier played for Telugu Titans and has emerged as one of the most popular and bankable foreign faces in a league dominated by Indians.
Sheykh, being one of the three foreign imports for the team ,could join the team as late as last week while the team had been practising together for a long while. But Sheykh didn’t show any sign of rustiness as he was up to the challenge from the first whistle. However, sadly, the all rounder didn’t find much support from any of his teammates, as even usually reliable star raider Kashiling Adake had an off day.
Dabang Delhi coach Sagar Bandekar was full of praise for the raider of the match. After the match, he told Sportskeeda correspondent, “I wish we had more time to train Meraj. He's already playing so well. He just came here a week back. Imagine what he can do if he had some more time to practice with us. We'll see as the tournament progresses if we can improve him even more.”
Dabang Delhi will meet Puneri Paltan in the last match of the first leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi today. The Eagles, as they are known among thier fans, were expected to improve their performance with a new look team but repeated the mistakes of past season to start on a dismal note. The team will need to pick it up quick if they are to pose any challenge to Puneri Paltans who have registered two wins in their first three games.