Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Making playoffs in very first season has left Steelers captain Surender Nada very happy
Surender Nada talks about captaining a new team and his side's season so far.
The Haryana Steelers have had an impressive debut campaign and sit second currently in Zone A on 64 points with a playoff berth pretty much sealed. Their latest three points came this past Wednesday, courtesy a 40-31 victory over U Mumba.
Relying on a powerful defensive set up, the Steelers have shown good all-round strength right through the season. Leading that defensive unit and the team as captain has been Surender Nada, who reclaimed his place at the top of the tackle points leaderboard after he picked up a High 5 in the win over Mumba.
Sportskeeda caught up with Surender for a brief chat on the season thus far. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
On learning from Anup Kumar while at U Mumba
He is a senior player, an experienced player. He is Captain Cool. He has plenty of experience in leading teams. He manages both the defence and offence very well. He doesn't allow the pressure to get to anybody and does not put any pressure on anyone. He tells everybody that the defence and offence have to play together and he lets them play coolly.
On the team doing well in their debut season
I'm definitely very happy that we'll be getting to the playoffs under my captaincy. It is something to be proud of. In our very first season, we are heading to the playoffs.
On all his raiders performing exceedingly well when given the chance
We pick different raiders based on strategies that we've made. And all the raiders - Deepak Dahiya, Wazir Singh, Surjeet, Prashant Kumar Rai, Vikas Kandola - have fired. Like today (vs U Mumba), Deepak Dahiya gave an outstanding performance. Vikas Kandola played after 11 matches and gave an outstanding performance despite his injury. I feel it will be an advantage for us going into the playoffs.
On other tactics besides his specialty, the ankle hold
We do work on other things as well. Depending on what our coaches tell us, we decide to use the ankle hold less in certain matches. There can be sweat on the ankles. There is a chance you will lose 2-3 points because other defenders will come for support. So our coaches have said to reduce it a little and use the diving catch more. I tried it today, but it didn't work, so I then used the ankle hold and got success. So, there is nothing like a new skill or anything, but for some matches, we may just have a particular strategy.
On whether playing against his old teams, U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls, gets him charged up more
Nothing like that. See, we are players, we try to give good performances and help the team win. The team should benefit, it doesn't matter who the opponent is. It shouldn't matter who is across the mat, we must focus on giving our best. We don't know with which coach or which team we may be playing in the future, so as players, we just focus on our game.
On what he tells his young players before matches
We tell our young players what type of raids to take, how the team will defend etc. As a defender, I give them tips on which defender is likely to tackle them. We prepare them thoroughly and send them on to the mat. We highlight who to keep an eye on. And, of course, as we have learnt from senior players, we also tell our players to play without pressure and with a free mind. That's how we've been playing. So far, we have been successful and we hope to continue that success.