Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Mystery surrounds Dabang Delhi's Nilesh Shinde as coach and teammate give contrasting views
The Dabang Delhi, who are the bottom-placed side of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 in Zone A, kicked off their home leg against the Season 2 champions U Mumba at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in the national capital. In what was a tightly-contested match, the Eagles looked to have sealed the deal as Anup Kumar was hunted down by their defence with less than two minutes to go, as the team took a 28-26 lead.
However, Abolfazl Maghsoudlou, who was the highest scorer of the match in the end, was snapped up by the Mumbai side next, which meant their lead was down to one.
Srikanth Jadhav came in to raid next and in yet another lapse in concentration from the Delhi team, two defenders came flying in to stop him and the raider was quick enough to turn and reach the midline, picking up the couple and putting his side in the lead, which they held on to dearly.
It was yet another missed opportunity for the Delhi side to grab a much-needed win as they remain rooted to the bottom of the standings and one can't help but think why two defenders needed to attack the raider when time was almost up and the team was in the lead.
"It was a mistake from the defence in the end that cost us the match. However, we are still a very strong side and will look to win our next five matches at home," said defender Bajirao Hodage, who was one of the two defenders responsible for the fatal error, at the post-match press conference.
Coach Ramesh Bhendigiri was understandably livid after the match and refused to come for the post-match interaction. Hodage, who has not had the best of seasons so far, added, "Our side is complete in all aspects and we can defeat any team. However, today we were lacking on the left side in defence and that's where we lost."
One man who could have made a difference was skipper Nilesh Shinde, as he did not take the mat yet again. On Thursday, the coach had stated that his entire squad is fully fit but when asked why their main corner defender was out of action, Hodage said, "Nilesh ko muscle injury hua hai aur woh aage peeche bhi nahi ho paa rahe hain." (Nilesh has a muscle injury and he can't even move back and forth.
But when questioned on his availability for the match against Pune, Hodage said that the decision would be made only after the team's meeting before the match. It is quite strange that the coach and player have different stances on a key player's fitness and given that it is the defence that has let the Delhi side down this season, Nilesh's absence is certainly peculiar.