Dabang Delhi KC skipper Joginder Narwal has asserted that his team is not under any kind of pressure ahead of the semi-final tie against defending champions Bengaluru Bulls on Wednesday. The skipper also credited youngster Naveen Kumar and coach Krishan Kumar Hooda for the team’s success.
Dabang Delhi have been the most consistent team in the seventh edition of the PKL as they have maintained the top spot on the points table. Delhi was not only the first team to get a direct entry into the playoffs but also the first team to get a place in the semis as well. In the first semi-final battle of the league on Wednesday, the Joginder Narwal-led side will take on defending champions Bengaluru Bulls in Ahmedabad.
With players like Pawan Sehrawat doing well in the Bulls team, there will be some concerns for the Delhi defence in the top-four clash. In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, Joginder has said that the Delhi team will not be under any sort of pressure while playing the semis.
“We are not under any pressure now and we were not under any pressure when we started the season as well. We give our 100% and winning or losing is in the hands of God. We give our all on the mat and we never had any kind of pressure on us no matter who is in front of us,” Joginder told SportsCafe.
In the seventh season, Dabang Delhi have their own star raider as Naveen Kumar has been in incredible form. After making his PKL debut last year as an NYP with Delhi, the 19-year-old has become the star of season 7. With 268 raid points, including 20 super 10s this season, Naveen is at the third place on the top raiders’ list. Joginder didn’t have much to say about Naveen because as per him, there is nothing to talk about the young man and everyone knows his achievements in season 7.
“As a captain, I am going to say only nice things about him. The whole of India watched him and was happy about his performance and as a captain, I treat him as my younger brother and as a child and whatever I tell him, he listens to me and applies it too on the mat,” said the 37-year-old defender.
After a poor run in the first five seasons, Dabang Delhi franchise made some big changes as they brought in former Haryana state team coach and Haryana Police coach Krishan Kumar Hooda at the helm ahead of the sixth edition. Delhi also got back Ravinder Pahal in the team and bought players like Joginder Narwal and Vishal Mane to have an experienced raiding unit. Since Krishan Hooda took over the team, Delhi have been consistent in the last two seasons. They secured a playoff berth for the first time in 2018 and now in 2019, they are only a couple of steps away from lifting the trophy.
“Even I came on board with the coach and was not there before and in both times, we have been with the team, the team has done well and gone to the playoffs. It is because of him that the team has come up, he was the one who selected good players for the team in the auctions and he has been making us practice and helping us correct and focus on our mistakes and that is why we are on top,” the Delhi skipper explained.
Dabang Delhi had made some changes in their playing 7 in the last two games in Greater Noida as some of the youngsters were given a chance. Joginder sat out on both occasions and it was the former Iran skipper Meraj Sheykh who led the team. After losing the first game of the Noida leg against the home team by a big margin of 50-33, Delhi played with a relatively better team against Mumba and tied the game 37-37.
When asked about the loss of winning momentum ahead of the semis and will it have an impact on the team, Joginder replied, “No, I don’t think it affected us at all. We have a semi-final match and it's going to be a crackling competition. We are going to go all out and we won’t hold anything back.”
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