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PKL 2018 | Haryana Steelers are missing Surender Nada in defence, says Rambir Singh Khokhar

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PKL 2018 | Haryana Steelers are missing Surender Nada in defence, says Rambir Singh Khokhar

Haryana coach Rambir Singh Khokhar has asserted that they are missing the experienced Surender Nada in their defensive unit in this season of the PKL. The left-corner defender was taken off injured in their first game against Puneri Paltan and has been ruled out for the remainder of PKL 6.

One of the best defenders in league history, Surender Nada was ruled out of the sixth season of the PKL after he picked up an elbow injury during their opening encounter against Puneri Paltan in Chennai. In the last few minutes of the game, Nada attempted a dash against Pune raider Deepak Dahiya who unfortunately landed on the former's hand to leave him injured.

The Steelers have played with Kuldeep Singh at the left-corner who hasn’t been that successful at the crucial position apart from his debut game against Gujarat Fortunegiants where he collected six points in the defence. Since that game, he has scored only 14 tackle points from eight matches. Despite the raiding unit putting up a decent show, Haryana is having a poor phase in the season. Rambir is of the opinion that the team is missing the presence of Nada on the mat as a defender and referred Nada as one of the best defenders in the country during an exclusive interview with SportsCafe. 

“We are certainly missing Surender Nada in the team. He is our main raider and one of the best left-corners in the country. Not only as a defender, the team is also missing him big time as the skipper. Even our experienced raider Wazir Singh is also out of action because of injury” said Khokhar.

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Monu Goyat was named the skipper of the Steelers for the rest of the season after Nada’s injury and it hasn’t been a great outing by the star raider who was roped in by Haryana for a staggering price of Rs 1.51 crore in the auction earlier this year. In seven games he has only 54 raid points at an average of just over seven per match. Despite him being the primary raider, teammate Vikash Khandola is above him on the Top Raiders list with a total of 68 raid points. Monu has attempted 104 total raids but his success rate is only 41.34%. The Steelers have managed to win only three out of the nine games that they have played so far.

“I don’t think that there is an additional pressure of captaincy on Monu. He is a senior player in the side and understands the game well. On the other hand, there is no pressure in the raiding department as Vikash Khandola and Naveen are doing a good job in the raids along with Monu,” said the coach who is with the side from the previous season when the Steelers made their first appearance in PKL.

Khandola has a bright future ahead of him. He knows how to get points at this young age and he is a confident guy on the mat. Khandola gets points at crucial junctures of the game.”

Haryana had a terrible run in the Sonipat leg where they managed to win only two matches from six games. The team couldn’t perform as per the expectations and that was the saddest part for the team management as it was a lacklustre performance in front of their home crowd at Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Haryana which is considered as the powerhouse of kabaddi.

“We didn’t have a great home leg but the players definitely tried to put their best foot forward on the mat. The pressure on the defenders was exposed and that’s why I think we didn’t put up a great show in the home leg. We are quite hopeful that we will do well in the remaining matches of the season,” explained Rambir.

Speaking about other teams in the league, the experienced coach said, “U Mumba is a very strong team this season as they have good raiding and defensive unit. Teams like Dabang Delhi also have a balanced side, according to me. Gujarat Fortunegiants have one of the strongest defensive units in PKL."

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