According to senior defender Girish Ernak, Puneri Paltan have got a power-packed squad for the seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, which is scheduled to start on July 20. Ernak has also stated that star raider of the Paltan Nitin Tomar is one of the strongest players in the league.
With only a few days remaining for the seventh season of the popular Pro Kabaddi League, Puneri Paltan have started their preparations at their home in Pune under new coach Anup Kumar. After deciding not to retain a single player ahead of the auctions in April, the Paltan has picked players like last year’s skipper Girish Ernak and star raider Nitin Tomar back in the team during the auctions.
The Pune-based team will start their campaign this year on July 22 against Haryana Steelers. In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, Ernak has termed this season’s team as a “power-packed” one and said that they have a lot of young and talented players for the league.
“I’m looking forward to this season with renewed vitality and vigour. Puneri Paltan has a power-packed squad this season, with a lot of promising young talent. As a team, we are giving it our all and working hard to achieve our goal,” Ernak told SportsCafe.
“Our efforts will reflect in our performance in the League. We are working together, supporting each other, and I’m sure we will do well and be successful.”
Ernak was the skipper of the Maharashtra-based team last year. After a good start to the season, the side lost its path midway in the league and eventually ended up in the fourth place on the Zone A points table. The Paltan had registered only eight wins in the league and ended up with 52 points which saw them out of the playoffs in season 6.
“As a captain, I was responsible to lead the team to pave their way ahead. However, we are supposed to perform as a cohesive unit and any individual cannot be held responsible for the team’s performance. Our success or our failure cannot be attributed to one person only as it is a collective effort that we put in together,” explained last year’s captain.
Tomar was the only star for the Paltan last year and he shone in the raiding department for the team. An injury took him away from the league but in the 11 games that he was a part of, the raider managed to score 100 raid points for the team. He is also a part of the Paltan in the upcoming season and is expected to start exactly from where he had left in PKL 2018.
“Nitin has undoubtedly been one of the strongest players of the league. For every team, each of its players are important and if they succumb to injuries it does leave an impact on the performance. Succumbing to an experienced player to injury didn’t shape up well for the team since we did not have strong backup raider last season,” Ernak stated.
In addition to Tomar in the raiding department, Puneri Paltan have some good youngsters like Manjeet, Darshan Kadian, and Pawan Kadian. All of them had a good season with their respective teams last year and the management had a good look at them before roping them in at the auctions. Ernak stressed upon the importance of an experienced player talking to the younger players in the team and making them feel comfortable on the big stage.
“We have a few players who have just started out their journey in Kabaddi, as senior players we would do our best in helping them adapt to the team. We would guide them by sharing our knowledge and help them hone their skills as an athlete.
“The spirit of the game, after all, lies in the strength of teamwork and collaboration, and it is crucial for each of us to help improve and learn from one another,” the Maharashtra player signed off.