Pardeep Narwal has highlighted the fact that Patna Pirates is a stronger unit this time as compared to the last season because of some new recruits. Pardeep also hailed the organisers for the new format of the league which has been introduced from this year after scrapping the zonal format.
The three-time champions Patna Pirates have started practising ahead of the seventh season under coach Ram Mehar Singh in Greater Noida. After winning three consecutive seasons, the Bihar-based side failed to qualify for the playoffs from Zone B last year under the captaincy of Pardeep Narwal.
Meanwhile, Pardeep is hopeful that the new additions to the team in the seventh edition of the league will be helpful for them. The team has roped in one of the finest left corners of the game Surender Nada at the auction for a whopping 77 lakh rupees along with foreigners like Jang Kun Lee, Mohammad Maghsoudlou, and Hadi Oshtorak.
“The camp is going on really well at the moment. We are getting ourselves ready for the tournament. This year we have got a good combination. There are some new raiders and defenders in the side as well,” Pardeep told SportsCafe.
“The defence looks stronger so we expect to do well this time in the league. When new defenders join the team we feel secure. We have Surender joining us this time with some other players like Hadi Oshtorak is also there. With new additions in the team, our defence is stronger than the last season.”
In the previous season, Pardeep led the entire raiding unit for the team and collected a total of 233 points from 21 matches. Despite having players like Deepak Narwal and Manjeet to support him in the raids, the team’s over-reliance on their skipper had affected his performance. However, by getting the South Korean raider Lee on board ahead of the seventh season, Pardeep expects that the former Bengal Warrior star will take some pressure off his shoulders.
“Pressure certainly eases out from me. He was one of the main raiders for the Bengal team as well. He will be a good support for me and his inclusion is good for me and for the team as well,” the star raider explained.
“Ashish is one of the newcomers in the raiding department for this year. This is his first year. The Iranian raider (Mohammad Maghsoudlou) is very good as well. So there is some good support in the raiding unit.”
Apart from Ram Mehar Singh, the Patna players are trained well by their fitness experts for the three-month-long season. The players are focussed to remain fit for the complete season. “We have two very good trainers who are ensuring that we remain fit for the entire season. So, the support staff is trying hard that we remain free of injury in the long season.
“He (Ram Mehar Singh) has a great impact on the team for the last three to four years. He behaves really well with the players and makes the players understand with some sweet words. One will never hear anything harsh from him for the players. He is a very good coach. We are practising hard together. There is a good addition of foreign players and we are having a good team bonding before the start of the season this time,” last year’s skipper said adding that there is no decision on who will lead the side this year.
The PKL organisers have decided to change the format of the schedule of the seventh season. The earlier zonal format has been scrapped totally and according to the new one, each team will face all other teams in the league twice. The top six teams will qualify for the playoffs which will be played according to the eliminator-qualifier format.
With the teams having to play only four games in the home leg, Pardeep has said that this will help everyone remain injury free during the league as they will get proper rest.
“I like the schedule which has been made for this year. Last time around we had the zonal system and had to play three matches with some teams and only one with the others. This time there will not be a much injury as last time around the players used to get injured during the home legs. The players will get good rest in this format of the league and will be easy for the players in terms of remaining fit,” Pardeep signed off.