When in trouble, who should raid Naveen Kumar or Pawan Sehrawat | Deep Dive

India needs 20 runs in the last over. MSD comes to the crease, and I sigh a huge relief! MSD’s individuals numbers and records may not compare with the greats of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting; but I much rather have him at the crease. Sometimes, numbers don’t do enough justice to what the player brings to the table. We did a similar analysis for Kabaddi raiders.

Sometimes, numbers don’t do enough justice to what the player brings to the table

Often in the 2nd half of a match, a team finds itself trailing by 0–10 points and few minutes left in the game; however, teams still have slim hopes of winning, but they need players who can orchestrate this with a cool head. Raiders able to thrive under pressure and keep the scoreboard ticking are without doubt invaluable.


Naveen Kumar devours difficult situations!


In PKL7, Naveen has been most effective in trailing situations for Dabang Delhi. Delhi have played this season often trailing by a few points, knowing well that a stretch by Naveen Kumar in the last 5 minutes will take them over the line. Naveen and Chandran Ranjith have delivered strongly for Dabang Delhi.

04th September, Kanteerva Stadium in Bangalore. Jaipur almost have the win in the bag with a 41–33 lead and just 3 minutes left in the game. Abhishek Bachchan is not smiling yet. Deepak Hooda the captain of Pink Panthers has decided empty raids are the safest way to win. Naveen Kumar does 2 lightning quick raids to take out Sandeep Dhull and Sachin Narwal. Deepak continue to execute empty raids. Naveen then dodges Elavarsan and then chases down Pavan TR to notch 2 points in an audacious raid. Scores now 43–41 in Jaipur’s favour. Delhi defense then takes out Jaipur captain Deepak Hooda in a Do-or-Die raid, the cost of those empty raids! Jaipur all too quickly stare at an all-out. And just like that Dabang Delhi surge into a 45–43 lead with 1 minute left. Dabang Delhi have the last laugh as Naveen takes out the best defender of PKL7 Sandeep Dhull with a kick and Delhi wins 46–44.

 

Naveen Kumar has been nothing short of a sensation this season
Naveen Kumar has been nothing short of a sensation this season

Pawan Kumar has delivered most valuable points for Bulls

 

We looked at Effective Points per Raid as a measure of performance and number of raids as a measure of endurance.

Performance or Effective Points = Points scored while raiding — Points given while raiding

Pardeep Narwal and Sid Desai have scored a lot of points when their teams were trailing; but often the score differences are so large that their effort have gone in vain. In the case of Big Sid, teams have gifted easy bonus points, with over a third of his points coming in bonuses.
 

Effective points highest for pardeep
Pardeep Narwal and Sid Desai been trying to save Patna Pirates and Telugu Titans way too often in PKL7!

Bengal Warriors have Nabibakhsh and Maninder Singh delivering most when the team is struggling.

Home game for Warriors and they are desperately looking for a win. With just 2 minutes on the clock, the unpredictable Puneri Paltan is coasting at 38–30. Then old warhorse Sukesh Hegde takes out 3 Paltans, followed by Iranian Nabibakhsh taking out another 3 to inflict an unbelievable All-Out on Puneri Paltan. Bengal notches a 42–39 win. A win that puts a smile on their stoic coach BC Ramesh’s face.

Vinay and Vikash have delivered for Haryana Steeler and Pawan, of course for Bengaluru Bulls. Arjun and Abhishek Singh have done reasonably well for U Mumba. All teams which have qualified for playoffs, with the exception of UP Yoddhas, have a raider who delivers when the going gets tough.

On the other hand, Puneri Paltans and Gujarat Fortunegiants have struggled to keep their scoreboards ticking, especially while trailing.
 


A Sudden Surge Rattles the Opposition


It is a lot about mindset — the team trailing has already accounted for the 5 points and rise up the points table in their heads. But the opposition’s raider is looking at the whole scenario as a challenge. A few unexpected points or a super-raid or mistake while tackling rattles the opposition mentally. If the raider can additionally push the opposition into an all-out, it is 10 points at the very least to the trailing team (all-out to all-out).

For players to be the right mindset till the very end of the game is critical, especially in a past paced game like Kabaddi.


The game has flipped, and momentum has changed hands. These are situations for captains and coaches to take charge and not lose advantage. For players to be the right mindset till the very end of the game is critical, especially in a past paced game like Kabaddi.