Pro Kabaddi: Ravinder Pahal waging a lone battle in the Dabang Delhi defence
Dabang Delhi’s newly appointed captain Ravinder Pahal stands testimony to the fact that a player can’t wage a lone battle and take his team to the top of the table. By far the best defender in the league, his performances have been nothing short of exemplary so far. But that takes nothing away from the team’s collective failure as they languish at a lowly 6th in the points table.
While we reached out to him, his calm demeanour was almost unmistakable. Hailing from Sonepat in Haryana, it’s interesting how he played a rather subdued role for the team last year. He was effective, but almost seemed to lack rhythm at crucial junctures on court.
A year on, and “The Wall” is finally proving his mettle. Out of the 8 matches that the team has played, he has won the ‘Best Defender Award’ a whopping 6 times and the Man of the Match Award 3 times. Testament to his consistency is also the fact that despite initially announcing a rotation of the captain’s arm band, the management and coaching staff has stuck to him with the responsibility for the last 7 games.
Talking after yet another loss, he sounded disappointed, “We put in a lot of effort but couldn’t pull off a win. Both times against U Mumba, we led till the end but couldn’t hold on. That’s kind of disheartening.”
Asked about his own performance, he added, “It has just been part of an incredible team effort. Hopefully, we can improve further as a unit and make the play offs this year.”
Refusing to acknowledge his teammates’ frailties, he said, “If not for them, I wouldn’t have managed to do what I have. It’s incredibly difficult to maintain consistency without support from your peers and I have been fortunate that way.”
We would believe Ravinder, but then the results narrate a different tale. Maybe, just maybe his teammates can bring their A Game to the mat in their home leg and ensure that the Best Defender in the league is still around when the play offs start.