FROM THE PINK CITY of ‘havelis’, and palaces built in sandstone that is Jaipur, the action in Season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi shifts to Patna, the ancient city, tomorrow. Will it give the hosts Patna Pirates an opportunity to overcome their problems on home turf?
Having had a three day break, have they been able to figure out their shortcomings and have they laid their hands on a remedy good enough to shore their fortunes? They have four matches beginning with a tough one against the Telugu Titans, with the next opponents Dabang Delhi, Puneri Paltan and Bengal Warriors.
Led by the once indomitable Rakesh Kumar, one of the legends of kabaddi, their fans must be wondering what’s really gone wrong with his form. The performance of the man who owns the patent for the ‘lion jump’ against Jaipur Pink Panthers in their win by 29-23 surely has been a silver lining for the Pirates. They would now be flexing their muscles to win against Delhi, Pune and Kolkata to end the first half of the season in the top four.
No doubt, Rakesh is a major factor but if one sees the performance of the young Sandeep Narwal and Deepak Narwal, one gets the impression that these two are just waiting to explode. More opportunities need to be given to the latter while the former needs to be encouraged to attack more judiciously. Their defence hasn’t proved to be strong but Rakesh and the Pakistani player Wasim Sajjad have it in them to guide the others and deter them from committing silly and unforced errors. Ravi Dalal is another man who needs to fire for the hosts.
The other teams, especially Pune and Kolkata, will be eager to improve their standing in the league table at least to stay in contention for the play-offs. Pune are improving with each game but are yet to find a settled combination. Wazir Singh is their number one raider but the absence of Yogesh Hudda has added to their worries.
Raider Pravin Niwale has come up with some skilful manoeuvres for Puneri Paltan but is lacking in consistency. He was away from the game for a long time but coach Ashok Shinde’s faith in him should do wonders to his confidence. Manoj Kumar and Sagar Khatale have it in them to worry raiders from rival teams. Tushar Patil from Kolhapur is an exciting prospect and will be given the responsibility of the do-or -die raids, the main thrust of many a team’s strategy now.
With the revival of Jaipur Pink Panthers after last night’s emphatic win over Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi and Patna Pirates might find their fortunes under threat. The encounter between them should eliminate one of them from the top four.
The top spot is currently occupied by U Mumba which isn’t under any threat. It remains to be seen if they can beat Dabang Delhi for a unique record in the league – beating all the teams. Telugu Titans have an opportunity to consolidate their second position and Bengaluru the third. Jaipur, Delhi and Patna can catch up with them while Pune and Kolkata, right now will have to remain where they are.