In the player auctions that were held before the commencement of the Pro Kabaddi 2019, one of the biggest signings was that of ace Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh, who was signed for a sum of ₹77.75 lakh by the Bengal Warriors.
Apart from Nabibakhsh, the Warriors added some more firepower to their raiding unit as they roped in the services of K Prapanjan and Sukesh Hegde while Jeeva Kumar and Rinku Narwal were the two notable signings who were certain to add a lot more solidity to the defence unit.
With a strong team built around the retained duo of Maninder Singh and Baldev Singh, the Warriors were expected to give the rest of their opponents a run for their money. The BC Ramesh coached-side have not done their reputation any harm with six wins and two ties from their 12 matches thus far, as they approach a crucial home leg segment of their campaign this season.
Prior to the Warriors' first home clash of this edition of PKL against last year's finalists Gujarat Fortune Giants, Bengal Warriors' coach BC Ramesh spoke to Sportskeeda in an exclusive chat where he stresses on the focal points of their home leg and the importance of the home crowd support when they step on to the mat at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
We are hoping to receive a lot of support from the home crowd. The players will be under a little performance to do well in front of the fans but I am expecting them to come out strong and put in their best foot forward to pick up important wins.
Led by talismanic raider Maninder Singh, the Bengal Warriors' raiding unit has put up impressive performances, with the likes of K Prapanjan and Mohammad Nabibakhsh chipping in with some crucial points. However, coach Ramesh shed light on the need for his raiders to keep calm in the final minutes of every game, something that is lacking thus far.
The raiders have tried well to pick up points. The only issue is that in the last 5-7 minutes, they have not stuck to the basics and have been tackled very often. We are putting in efforts in the training sessions to strengthen that one minor flaw.
Skipper Maninder Singh has picked up 95 points from 12 games but an ardent Kabaddi fan would agree that he has looked slightly off the mark so far. Yet, in most situations when Maninder has failed to get going, K Prapanjan has taken up the onus to bring about a majority of the points and the coach was all praise for the lanky raider.
Prapanjan, with his unique style of raiding has brought about important points in crucial situations. Maninder has done well but he has made a few mistakes and we are hoping that their combination strikes for us in this home leg.
An imperative part of the Warriors' setup this season has been Mohammad Nabibakhsh, who has contributed from both the offence and defence departments that has added an extra dimension to the side's outlook. Coach Ramesh added a little more detail on the role given to the Iranian for this season.
Mohammad Nabibakhsh is a valuable all-rounder to our side. He has produced a couple of quality thigh holds, ankle holds and has also proved his worth as a skillful raider. He has essayed his role as an all-rounder quite well this season.
While the raiders have gone about picking up points, the defence unit led by Jeeva Kumar also wears an exciting look with the presence of corner defenders Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal, who have made a difference with their blocks and dashes.
However, one glaring issue for the Warriors is the inability of the defensive trio to string together their performances, which has gone a long way in gifting away a couple of crucial points to the opposition.
When quizzed about the absence of a strong overall defensive show, coach Ramesh was quick to point out that this was certainly a challenge for him and has been trying out various strategies to bring about a good show from the defence unit.
Yes, this has certainly been a challenge for me. Whatever happens, my aim is to ensure that all three of them do not make too many errors and can join hands to plot the downfall of the opposition raiders.
With an important home leg beginning with a tough opponent in the Gujarat Fortune Giants, the Warriors' coach is prepared for an exciting week ahead.
Our main focus will be to win all the four games at home. This will not only give us some much-needed confidence, but it will also take us further up the points table and a give us a chance to finish in the top 2, which will be a massive advantage for us as we head into the playoffs.