Pro Kabaddi: Introspecting Jasmer Gulia’s surprise omission from Dabang Delhi's line-up
As the Dabangs from Delhi took the courts in Patna’s Patliputra Complex today, there was one notable absentee from the team, their captain from last season and one of the most experienced players in the league – Jasmer Gulia. An Asian and SAAF Games champion, he has been a rock for the capital-based franchise in the 20 matches they had played before this.
Today, however, as mentioned by the team management before the game, he was dropped for the offensively inclined Shrikant Tewathia. A prime reason for this could be a change in strategy against the all-conquering U Mumba team, for an extra raider gave the Dabangs an opportunity to score more and also reduce their dependency on Rohit Kumar Chaudhary and Kashiling Adake against an astute defence.
Why sacrifice their most experienced player though? Upon introspection, a part of the team management revealed it had to do with his poor performances in the last couple of games, having committed frail tackles on opposition raiders; he had suddenly seemed to have lost pace and didn’t seem like his usual agile self. Even in attack, his raids lacked penetration and that apparently didn’t augur well with the team think tank.
As we reached out to the head coach, he played it down, “It was just for a game; Jasmer was rested and nothing else. We wanted to play out a different combination and he was in alignment with our decision. Shrikant too is a really good player and thus the team wanted to give him a go.”
While the move didn’t exactly back fire as the Dabangs did indeed look astute in defence, one would have to wonder what would have happened on that crucial raid by Anup Kumar which got the team from Mumbai the lead with 4 minutes remaining on the clock.
Maybe, just maybe, Jasmer’s experience could have come handy there!