Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Dabang Delhi sign replacement for injured raider Suraj Desai
The Dabang Delhi Kabaddi Club are all set to start the new Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 on a fresh note as they take on the Jaipur Pink Panthers in their opening clash at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad. After four disappointing seasons that saw the Eagles not make the playoffs even once, they will look to ensure that they start the new campaign by putting their best foot forward.
The Delhi side retained mercurial all-rounder Meraj Sheykh for the new season ahead of the auctions in May, where they made some smart buys, roping in the services of defenders Bajirao Hodage and Nilesh Shinde, who will add much-needed to steel to their backline.
However, there is a cause of concern in the raiding department as star raider Suraj Desai, who was bought for Rs 52.50 lakhs at the auction, was ruled for the new season due to injury. The rest of the attackers in the Delhi lineup have a lot of potential but there is no star name that stands out and can lead the team in attack.
Desai has been replaced by an 18-year-old in the form of R. Sriram, who has been picked from the list of New Young Players that was created before the season's start. It remains to be seen how he will deal with the pressure of performing at the big stage but the Delhi management have a lot of faith in the youngster from Tamil Nadu.
Sriram hails from Tamil Nadu and works with the state's Excise and Tax Department. An official from the franchise's management told Sportskeeda, "It will be his first Pro Kabaddi season and we are looking forward to seeing how he performs."
"He is very quick on the court, which is why he decided to draft him in," he explained further. The official added, "He also possesses a strong running hand touch move, which makes him a huge asset."
The Dabangs will line up against the Jaipur Pink Panthers in their opening clash, which will be a real test of their skill and character. The Pink Panthers have a strong lineup that features the likes of Manjeet Chhillar, Navneet Gautam and Jasvir Singh, along with raider Selvamani, who actually played for the Delhi side in previous seasons.