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Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: I don't care about being the best defender, says Gujarat Fortungiants' Fazel Atrachali 

462   //    26 Oct 2017, 19:13 IST

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Atrachali has led from the front

Fazel Atrachali's journey in the Pro Kabaddi League has been nothing short of inspirational. From struggling to cement his place in the starting seven to captaining Gujarat Fortunegiants, life has come a full circle for the corner defender.

When he entered the scene, Atrachali initially had to settle for a place on the bench at U Mumba. With Surender Nada in the squad, it was always going to be difficult for him to break through. However, he did exactly that and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Since then, Fazel has only improved.

But his numbers in season 5 don't paint the complete picture. With 57 tackle points in 23 matches, Atrachali is currently the ninth best defender in the league. It's evident that last year's best defender has tweaked his game at Gujarat Fortunegiants.

When Sportskeeda asked him about his new role, Fazel suggested that he no longer focuses solely on himself. The Iranian believes a one-man team cannot go all the way, possibly alluding to Patna Pirates and Pardeep Narwal.

"If you play as a team, every opponent looks easy. But if you believe only one or two players are important in a side, then the task becomes hard. You must believe in your teammates and communicate your ideas to them properly. If you play as a team, it does not matter who the opposition is," he stated.

Atrachali no longer craves for the individual honors. Rarely does he dive in for those adventurous tackles anymore. On the rare occasions that he does, it is only when he is completely sure about it. He's now a leader in every sense of the word.

Since he was handed the captaincy this season, (replacing Sukesh Hegde) Fazel has to ensure he spends as much time as possible on the mat. He suggested that his risk-taking abilities have drastically reduced.

"This season was different for me, I am playing with extremely young players. I have forgotten about the title of the best defender. I am only focused on my team becoming the champions and we will do this."

"I cannot execute a lot of risky tackles but maybe if I tried, Gujarat may not be here (final). It was decided that I would attempt only one tackle if need be but it has to be the perfect tackle. Not ten tackles and lose six points. I play for the team, not myself," he added.

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