Nitin Tomar has revealed that Puneri Paltan are quite confident that they will manage to qualify for the next round in the ongoing seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The star raider has also mentioned that all the players in the team are learning a lot from their new coach Anup Kumar.
Puneri Paltan ended their home leg on a high last week as they managed to get the better of defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 42-38. The team from Maharashtra are currently at the eighth position with 42 points from 18 games and the next four matches are going to be very crucial for the team as far as their qualification for the playoffs is concerned. In the next game, the Paltan will take on Jaipur Pink Panthers who are just above them on the points table and one of their four matches is also against UP Yoddha who are currently placed sixth. These two games are going to be the most crucial for Anup Kumar and his boys in the coming days.
After the end of the home leg, Pune’s star raider spoke to SportsCafe in which he mentioned about Pune's qualification chances and also talked about the mood in the team after the home leg. Pune won two and drew one game out of four at home and Tomar feels that they had a good run at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi.
“The team is doing well at the moment and that feels great. We had a good home leg as well. We tied one game and won two. So, I think that was a good performance by the team. I am hopeful that we will play better in the upcoming games in the league as well,” Tomar told SportsCafe.
“We certainly have a chance to go. We have to win the four matches that we have and we are confident enough to make it to the playoffs. We are certainly hopeful of doing well in all the remaining matches.”
Just before the auctions ahead of the seventh season, legendary kabaddi star Anup Kumar joined Puneri Paltan as the chief coach. Although Pune have not been able to perform that very well under his guidance so far this season, Anup has still had positive impact on the team and its players. Anup was known for his cool and calm demeanour during his playing days also maintained the same nature at the sidelines during the matches. Tomar has said that he learnt a lot from the star raider of the first few editions of the league in the Pune camp.
“I am learning a lot from him (Anup Kumar). He tells us about the opposition defenders as well. He tells us about who is good and who is not. The raider needs to put pressure on the opposition defenders and these are the things that he tells us. He also gives up tips about collecting bonus and all,” the primary raider of Pune expressed.
Tomar had to miss out the first three legs this season due to injury and his performance has also gone down a bit in this year as compared to the previous season. Out of 11 matches, Tomar has collected only 49 points so far in the league. On the other hand, Pune’s raiding unit is being taken care of mostly by Manjeet and Pankaj Mohite. Mohite has been the find for them this year as he has picked up 98 points from 15 games while Manjeet has 92 from 18 so far in the season.
“There was something missing for the team and they felt the absence in the first few matches. But winning two matches gave some confidence to the side and we did well to make a comeback. Manjeet and Pankaj are good players and they did well for the team this season. Manjeet has contributed in the defence as well,” the Services raider stated.
After paying in the same team under the leadership of Girish Ernak, Tomar is now playing under another top-class defender in Surjeet Singh. Tomar spoke about both the top players in the team and said that Surjeet’s performance in the home leg has put them in a good place and he is an inspiring skipper.
“Both Girish and Surjeet are good defenders and they have the capability of leading the team and the defence as well. Surjeet had a good home leg and that gave confidence to others. He keeps speaking to us about improving the game and he boosts our confidence during the matches,” Tomar signed off.
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