Dabang Delhi, what happens when a prodigy and stalwarts team up?
So the Tamil Thalaivas of Pro Kabaddi season... oh wait, I mean Dabang Delhi have fortified their side with the stalwarts like Padma Shri Ajay Thakur, Manjit Chhillar, Joginder Narwal, Jeeva Kumar, and Sandeep Narwal and of-course the prodigy Naveen Kumar, the key face behind their season 7 success and finish as runners-up. But with the stalwarts in the team and three of them a possible "captain figure", this beckons the question - who will control the team on the mat, and yes they have a Dronacharya Awardee coach too off the mat Shri Krishan Hooda.
Dabang Delhi retentions:
To retain the MVP of Pro Kabaddi season 7 Naveen Kumar at 90 Lakhs was a no-brainer for Dabang Delhi. They also made a smart choice of retaining Vijay at 45.1 Lakhs as a utility player who can also play the corner. Another retained young skillful player in the squad was Neeraj Narwal, whom we have recently seen playing for Ordinance Factory, Pune in 38th All India Men Kabaddi Championship, Gotegaon. Dabang also retained their NYPs Mohit, Balram, and Sumit Kumar. Dabangs, with these retentions, looked attack-ready and went into the auctions defensively naked.
Naveen Kumar with Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar, Joginder Narwal, Jeeva Kumar, Sandeep Narwal, isn't it the finest weapons in the Dabang's arsenal? Yes, they are the best names but if you ask about numbers I may not agree with all these names in one team. The replacement of Ravinder Pahal with Sandeep Narwal surprised me because I have seen The Hawk Pahal neutralizing Naveen time and again in the Senior Nationals, so with Pahal you have unleashed a tiger who is ready to hunt you down. Pahal (represents Railways) has been the Achilles Heel in Services' quest to win the Senior Nationals.
Joginder Narwal back in the team is good news, his experience and presence on the mat is a boon for Dabang Delhi and FBM at 20 Lakhs is a steal. The way he manages & maneuvers the team is commendable as I have seen him recently playing for his team ONGC in 38th All India Men Kabaddi Championship, Gotegaon and it was his presence on the mat, not as a left corner but as captain, that won the trophy.
So Dabang Delhi have secured their right corner with Sandeep Narwal and left with Joginder Narwal but with no replacement, they have Vikas in left but Sandeep is the lone warrior in the right, which requires him to be fit throughout the season, until unless Dabang Delhi has not kept any surprise NYP.
The left side of Dabang Delhi being overly strong, with 2 left corners, 3 left raiders, and surprisingly 4 left covers. Why it surprises me is because after securing veteran Jeeva Kumar it doesn't make sense to go for Manjeet Chhillar, rather gone for a younger cover. And already the foreign quota player Md. Malak, who is also a left cover, is already in the squad. Coach Krishna Hooda, has to make tough choices with selecting his starting 7. The right cover position lacks any depth with the absence of a full-time right cover and Jeeva may have to fill these shoes.
On the other hand, Dabang Delhi looks raid heavy post auction, where Naveen Kumar can take the lead with support from Neeraj Narwal & Ajay Thakur. With Vijay Malik, Sushant Sail & Iranian raider Emad, Dabang Delhi has added a layer of depth to their line of attack. Also, they have All-rounder Sandeep Narwal in the squad who as a raider can bring some surprise moments and smiles to our faces.
Overall the Dabangs look like a balanced squad with a heavy line of attack. Now the key is how the coach will manage the senior players with a set of young players in the team.
Dabang Delhi full squad:
Emad Sedaghat Nia