As the popular notion goes in kabaddi, you score a lot if you have great raiders, but the defence helps you win games. The team from Delhi has been lucky in this regard; for all the sporadic frailties in their attack, their 5-pronged defence has usually held fort till now.
Here is an attempt to profile each one of them ahead of their crucial encounter against the Jaipur Pink Panthers:
The soft spoken and calm-headed Pahal is the pillar of the Dabang defence. Four straight best defender awards in this season’s Pro Kabaddi stands testimony to his abilities. Considered uni-dimensional till last year, he seems to have added the ankle hold to his repertoire, and needless to say Pahal is a menace and it’s highly likely that Wazir Ali and Co would find it increasingly difficult to get past him.
G S Manikanta
This acrobatic defender from Tamil Nadu has a characteristic move called the ‘Mundu Charge’ and has used that to great effect so far. Unorthodox at his best, Manikanta got glued to the game while watching other players during the first edition. He felt inspired after watching statemate D. Suresh Kumar’s stint with Patna Pirates and has so far lived up to his pursuit this season.
A prodigy, he was junior national champion for five consecutive years. Drafted in to the Dabang squad this year, Avnish has been solid in defense. In the match against Bengaluru Bulls, especially, he ably supported Ravinder and would look to do the same for the other matches.
Hailing from the cradle of Indian kabaddi, Nizampur, Amit is a natural athlete. He has been supreme so far since his inclusion in the 2nd game and will be looking to continue in a similar vein.
A gold medal in SAF Games 2006, Asian Games 2010 and recent top place finishes at the Trivandrum National Games and India Police Games, 2015 stand testimony to the legend that Jasmer is. A cop in Punjab by the day, he has patrolled the courts with utmost precision and gusto so far. Against the Panthers, he was exemplary last season and the 10-point loss at the same venue was partly because he had to sit out for part of the 2nd half, ensuing a period of lull for the Dabangs.