Pune: Starting any tournament afresh gives you a chance to try out options with the team composition and that helps bring out best from the team, feels Rambir Singh Khokhar, coach of the newly formed Pro Kabaddi League team, the Haryana Steelers.
“We have a bunch of good national and experienced players and also those from Under-21 age group, which gives my team a very good composition to compete against any team,” said Rambir in an exclusive interview with Sakal Times.
Rambir, who coached Patna Pirates in the Season 1 is all set to start his new innings with JSW Sports-owned Haryana Steelers— the team which makes debut in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 along with three other teams.
“I was the head coach at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for 35 years and have also travelled to Kenya and Iran for coaching stints.”
“Coaching a new team will be definitely fun and my foremost aim would be to take my team into qualifiers. First three games will be for the assessment and then I will try to fix out different compositions in the team,” said Rambir.
Haryana Steelers began its first preparatory camp in Bengaluru at JSW Sports Complex on Sunday, June 18. The team, however, is yet to finalise its home base with Gurgaon as top choice, though Sonepat, which has a SAI facility, is also on the radar.
“Camp will give us the chance of planning strategy and players will get familiar with each other,” added Rambir under whose coaching, India won Asian championship gold medal in Malaysia in 2011.
Rambir also gives full credit to Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) for changing the stature of the game and making it more appealing to the people.
“PKL has totally changed the scenario of the game. Interest was going down and the arrival of the league infused new energy in the game.
“League has brought many changes. Kabaddi at our time and kabaddi at present is different like day and night. We only had a chance to show out talent in national tournaments as there were no international tournaments. But today, Kabaddi is known by all which is a remarkable turnaround both for players and the sport,” added Rambir.
Defence top priority
Haryana has brought two best defenders in their squad, Mohit Chhillar and Surender Nada. Mohit and Surender were the part of Bengaluru Bulls in the Season 4.
“I feel defence is the most important part of the game, If you have a strong defence then you can have edge. Mohit is our right corner and Surender will control left. These two are strongest defenders and are an asset to any team.”
Rambir also has confidence on his raiders Sonu Narwal and Wazir Singh.
“Sonu had a tentative last, but his height and ability to win bonus points makes him a very formidable player. Wazir had injury issues during previous season but he has great potential. And, I believe he will perform better this time,” said Rambir.
Iran and Kenya are the two nations which have taken kabaddi very seriously. If one looks at Iran they perform almost at par with the Indians and have always given a tough fight.
“What they lack is good bench strength whereas in India we have ample of talent who are waiting to perform at a bigger stage.” said Rambir.
Team: Haryana Steelers
Team owner: JSW Sports
Coach: Rambir Singh Khokhar
Well known players: Surender Nada, Mohit Chhillar, Surjeet Singh, Wazir Singh