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Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5 : Dabang Delhi coach ready to drop captain Meraj Sheykh

Meraj failed to score a single point against Gujarat.


Meraj (left) was dropped midway through the game


Post their surprise 30-26 win over Jaipur Pink Panthers in their opening Pro Kabaddi game, a formidable Dabang Delhi were up against a completely unknown Gujarat Fortunegiants side. 

At the end of 40 minutes, the capital side were completely dismantled by a far superior Gujarat who went on to win the match 26-20. Delhi though did mount a respectable comeback after trailing 26-13 early on. Post the match coach, Ramesh Bhendigiri said that if necessary he will drop captain Meraj Sheykh like he did tonight in the second half. 

“Our defense was all over the place because of which their raiders were successful. The match was one sided in the beginning but we changed the raider (Meraj) and the match turned around from there on,” the coach said. 

The entire stadium was in a state of disbelief as Meraj was abruptly substituted in the second half. But from a tactical point of view it made sense. Dabang Delhi were completely out of shape and failed to keep Gujarat’s raiders in check. 

“Meraj wasn’t able to score and we lacked a cover. So, it was necessary to remove Meraj, we keep making changes. The cover must always remain on the mat. It’s not a big deal. Meraj was feeling a bit down tonight,” the coach added.

Being the captain of the side, one would have expected Meraj to stay on the mat for the entire duration of the match. But the Iranian had a torrid time and was not able to score a single point against Gujarat. As a result, the coach was left with no choice but to remove Meraj from the match. 

“One can even remove the captain for the team, yes I will do it. If it’s necessary for the team. Meraj understands this. He is a good player but at that moment, we needed a cover. Hence, we made that change,” Bhendigiri explained. 

Delhi Defender, Nilesh Shinde shrugged off suggestions that his side may have taken their gas off the pedal post their impressive win over Jaipur Pink Panthers. 

“Nothing like that. Gujarat’s defense was really good and our raiders did have a hard time initially. We were under a lot of pressure. Our coach did explain that since our raiders our Iranian and Gujarat’s defenders are Iranian, we could possibly find it tough,” he signed off.

Also read: Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: 5 players who you won't believe are not a part of this PKL season


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