Did not prepare specially for Super 10: Naveen Kumar
By Kaushik Kumar
New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) The ongoing Season-7 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has been full of surprises. As the league approaches the halfway mark of the group stage, three-time champions Patna Pirates, one of the toughest of the 12 teams, stand at the bottom of the points-table, while considered underdogs -- Dabang Delhi is at the top with 39 points.
Delhi has improved its raiding percentage with every passing year while their defenders have also matched their every effort, statistics show. If it is raiding, the sole reason behind Delhi's success, young Naveen Kumar is the one who has single-handedly taken his team to great heights.
At just 19 years of age, Naveen has shocked even the big names in the sport as he stands tall with 104 raid points this year, the second in the raiding table so far. Out of nine games, the Bhiwani boy has taken everyone by surprise after achieving eight super 10s. However, Naveen says he didn't prepare specially as such.
"No, I didn't prepare specially for it and I feel its just my fitness that has helped. I am feeling much fitter than last year and the mistakes I committed in 2018, I have just tried to work on them. Even my coach has continuously worked with me.
"When I enter the mat, I hardly think about getting a super 10, the main focus is to help the team come out victorious," Naveen told IANS.
"I was a bit nervous last year as it was my first season but my coach has tremendous confidence in me. Also, these star and experienced players like Joginder Singh, Ravinder Pahal have helped me. Thay have taught me about the league and the game. I learnt from them when and where to make a raid and also where to target while entering the opposition's defence. They taught me to how to perform when situations demand."
Though the team heavily relies on him, Naveen said: "No, I don't have any pressure to perform. I simply try to do what my coach and the seniors suggests."
Commenting on his team's success, Naveen reckoned that retaining the core team could be one reason behind it.
"There were not much changes made in the auction this year except one or two. So, the combination we had remained intact and it helped as each player knew each other's strength and weaknesses," the raider concluded.