Pro Kabaddi Season 2017 Season 5: Maninder Singh is the ultimate team player, says Warriors coach Jagdish Kumble
The Bengal Warriors finally tasted success in an Inter-Zone clash when they beat the Jaipur Pink Panthers in Chennai on Sunday evening, coming from behind to win a nail-biter, 32-31.
Maninder Singh was fantastic once more for the Warriors, picking up 16 points, and was the hero in the final raid. Facing a Do or Die raid, Maninder was captured by the Jaipur defence, but not before picking up a Bonus Point, giving his side the one-point win.
Warriors coach Jagdish Kumble was pleased with the win and spoke highly of Maninder. “Maninder thinks for the team. Whenever and whatever the team needs, he will go and get it. Today we told him to play freely and without tension and he managed to get us all those points,” said Kumble.
Warriors captain Surjeet Singh though didn't have the best of nights, making many uncharacteristic errors and rash tackles.
“Surjeet did his job today. Whatever planning we did, we managed to implement that. Being a cover defender, he sometimes tried to cover the entire left side by himself, due to which he was not at his best. As we know he is a fantastic defender, but today we saw some mistakes from him, which happens,” said Kumble in defence of his skipper.
The game was tense going into its final moments, with Jaipur's Pawan Kumar and Bengal's Maninder trading blows. Coach Kumble mentioned what he told his side in those moments: “I was okay if the bonus went as long as only one player went for the tackle. Also, I told Maninder to go for Bonus Points because they are crucial in such moments. This season we have suffered three times because of other teams picking up bonuses in the end. So we wanted to do the same today.”
Right corner, Shrikant Tewthia, who has been an easy target for opponents the entire season fared well today, putting in some crucial tackles. “Shrikant is an all-rounder. I have some replacements, but they are all new boys. So we have stuck with him and I have to trust him. We hope he will get better as the season progresses,” added Kumble.
Jaipur’s coach Balwan Singh and captain Manjeet Chhillar both expressed their disappointment at the result as they couldn't back up their win from last night with another one.
“Mistakes were plenty,” lamented Singh. “We had plans for Maninder and we did well too and caught him many times. In the second half he picked up his game and we made mistakes. That's why he's one of the best raiders, because he has that ability.”
Pawan Kumar was superb for the Pink Panthers, picking up 13 points. He saved his side from All Outs multiple times as the last man standing, helping his side stay ahead. Manjeet mentioned the fact that taking the Bonus plus touch point was good for them as they were surrendering only one point in defence.
Coach Balwan Singh also said things could have turned out differently. “The captain’s plan was good. We were getting the extra points from Pawan, so it was good we didn't give the easy All Out. If Tushar had done well in the final Do or Die raid, we would have won that point. But he got caught, unfortunately,” the Jaipur coach went on to say.
Balwan Singh was also thankful for the support his side received on the night.
“Sports enthusiasts are many in Tamil Nadu. They love all sports. We have come to Tamil Nadu for many All-India tournaments and we have seen that they love kabaddi. We really enjoyed the support they gave us today,” concluded Balwan Singh.