Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Puneri Paltan coach details strategy behind win over Haryana Steelers
The reason why Puneri Paltan continues to find success in the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League 2017 is not only because they look a well-balanced team but also because of the fact that their coach BC Ramesh is a master strategist. At the post-match interaction with the media following their 37-25 win over the Haryana Steelers at the Harivansh Tana Bhagat Indoor Stadium in Ranchi on Tuesday, it got reflected as the Pune coach shared his thoughts.
Honest and candid, Ramesh at first did not shy away from admitting that they did enjoy an advantage over the Steelers in the absence of their deadly defending duo of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar. It left a glaring hole in the defence which the Pune raiders were able to penetrate efficiently.
“We definitely enjoyed an advantage because Mohit Chhillar and Surendar Nada were not there. Everyone knows how skilled Nada is. He is a top defender and Nada and Chhillar together form a deadly combination," he said.
The coach added, "The onus fell on the juniors to man their defence and we expected them to concede points. We were confident that Rajesh Mondal and Monu too will be able snatch points tonight.”
Having played and beaten the Steelers 38-22 in the Sonepat leg just last week, Ramesh knew exactly what to expect. They focused on their attack and had separate plans for each of the Haryana raiders, as revealed by the Pune coach.
“Our strategy was to take a lona (all out) in the first half and we succeeded. We were facing the same team that we faced in Sonepat, so we had planned meticulously. We put in more raiders and gave Vikash Khatri a chance," he continued.
"We had plans for every raider in their team including Mayur Shivtarkar, who had brought the Steelers three points against the Jaipur Pink Panthers in their last match.”
Although, Ramesh did mention that things did not look too rosy at the beginning with it appearing to be a tight match. Pune led by a point at 10-9 towards the closing stages of the first half.
But after their most dependable all-rounder Sandeep Narwal ran riot and the rest of the Pune franchise pounced as well, Haryana became mentally weak. That is what cost them the match, according to the Pune mentor.
“Haryana was playing at the start and we all thought this encounter will turn out to be a tightly-contested one. But as soon as our raiders started getting points freely, they became mentally weak.”
The meticulous planning certainly paid off as Pune have now jumped to the third position in Zone A, leapfrogging former champions U Mumba. This was just their eighth win in 11 matches which speaks volumes of the confidence of the entire team and the fact that they have many more chances to capitalize on as the business end of the league phase approaches.