Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5 : Deepak Hooda reveals the most important player at Puneri Paltan
On Friday, Puneri Paltan registered their second consecutive win on the trot. They comfortably beat Dabang Delhi 26-21, without having to really push themselves. It did get a bit close in the later stages of the match and Pune's captain, Deepak Hooda admitted that he was feeling the pressure.
"When their lone player was on the mat, he got a bonus point, I was a little tensed then. But I never felt the match was getting out of control. When a single player is left on the mat and he gets a bonus, tension rises," he stated.
Experienced campaigner, Rajesh Mondal, was the star of the match, scoring a massive 8 raid points. With Hooda controlling his team, Mondal was regularly used as the primary raider against Delhi and he put in a splendid performance.
"You've seen Rajesh Mondal across various seasons. He helped Patna Pirates to the championship last year and is a very important player for us. When Pardeep Narwal's success rate diminished, Rajesh always got the points for them," Deepak explained.
Former Patna Pirates man, Mondal played a pivotal role in Patna's success last season. Time and again, he bailed out his team from losing situations and Hooda is glad that Rajesh is now playing for Pune.
"Last season, he performed very well against Puneri Paltan too. He took the match away from us. When I got out unluckily, I controlled my raiding and asked Rajesh to try raiding from the right. He is a very good player, there's no doubt about that," he said.
Deepak believes that it is important to build momentum. As a result, he is ready to sacrifice his raiding exploits if need be. The captain suggested that he will never hesitate to use another raider as the primary attacker, if their form is better than his.
"Our strategy has always been, the first raider that we sent, if he's successful, we will continue to send him. Our main strength is our defence. We have Girish, Dharamaraj and Sandeep Narwal. I know our defenders are so good that they will definitely tackle the raiders," he opined.
For Deepak Hooda, Friday was extra special. He completed 400 points and cemented himself as one of Pro Kabaddi's elite players. The captain was extremely pleased having reached a special milestone.
"Every player has the responsibility of maintaining consistency in every season. I've practised a lot for that. I felt really good tonight and I am focused," he signed off.