Pune looks to propel above No 3 position
Puneri Paltan will start their campaign in PKL Season 6 with their first league match against U Mumba.
Pune: From wooden spoon finish to No 3 position - Puneri Paltan has managed to keep upward surge in Pro Kabaddi League so far. In Season 6, the team is looking to better their performance to bring home the trophy.
With the Season 6 set to start on Sunday, Puneri Paltan will be up against the neighbours U Mumba in the second match of the day at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. The first match will be played between home team Tamil Thalaivas and defending champion Patna Pirates.
Although, Mumbai based team is leading the overall head to head 7-4 in 11 matches. Pune has won last three contests in Season 5 and the team will look to continue the same momentum.
“We are ready to play any team. U Mumba is the good team and our strategy for them is ready. We just need to apply it on the mat now,” Ashan Kumar told Sakal Times in an interview.
Both the teams will be having a new captain to begin the new season. Pune will be led by Girish Ernak, while Iranian Fazel Atrachali will take captain’s guard for U Mumba.
For the first time, Mumbai outfit will be without captain cool Anup Kumar who is now in charge of Jaipur Pink Panthers.
In the last three seasons, Pune finished at No 3 position. Every time team had a chance to get into the final but silly mistakes at crucial junctions cost them a match.
“We will do better than No 3 position this time but as a coach, I am not pressurising my team and we will take match by match. If I keep on telling them about previous performances every time then their mentality will be stuck in the same zone. Support each other’s game and play with oneness to get success,” explained coach.
For Mumbai who had the memorable start to PKL with being winners in the second edition and runner-up in the first and third season has seen downfall in their performance with not able to qualify for finals in last three seasons.
Along with Fazel, Mumbai has the service of Iranian coach Amir Mazandarani and raider Abolfazl Maghsodlou. Orange army’s defence will be taken care of by Girish, Sandeep Narwal and Rinku Narwal.
“This time we have worked on our defence, last year our defenders did not had patience and they rushed to catch the raider but now every defender has been alert about how should be their approach in given match situation,” explained Ashan.
The coach is coming from successful coaching stint with South Korean kabaddi team, which won silver medal in Jakarta-Palembang 18th Asian Games held last month. During the one month camp, Ashan Kumar also stressed on multi-roles of individual players.
“To strengthen team’s defence we have prepared our young players like Monu, Vikas Khatri, Deepak Dahiya and Akshay Jadhav in the role of defenders as well. Idea is to hone their skills as it will benefit the team,” explained Ashan.
- Before coming to Pune in Season 5, Girish has played for Patna Pirates Season 1and 2 and for Bengaluru Bulls in Season 3.
- In the last season, Girish controlled his team whenever Deepak Hooda was not on the mat.
- “Captaincy is not new to me. In past, I had a chance to captain my company team and state team so here also I accept this responsibility without any pressure,” said Ernak.
- Ernak is overall satisfied with the team and their preparations and he is happy that his team has players like Sandeep, Rajesh Mondal and Nitin Tomar.
Pune vs Mumbai
- U Mumba is leading the head-to-head battle with 7 wins in 11 games.
- In the last 5 games of Maharashtra derby, Pune has defeated U Mumba 4 times.
- U Mumba has qualified for a playoff in first 3 seasons (PKL-- 1-3), while Puneri Paltan has qualified in last 3 seasons (PKL -- 3-5).
Puneri Paltan Schedule: October 7: vs Mumbai; October 8: vs Haryana; October 12: vs Delhi; October 14: vs Haryana; October 18: vs Gujarat; October 19: vs Jaipur; October 20: vs Mumbai; October 21: vs Bengaluru; October 23: vs Tamil Nadu; October 24: vs UP; October 30: vs Gujarat; October 31: vs Delhi; November 3: vs Mumbai; November 13: vs Hyderabad; November 17: vs Kolkata; November 23: vs Jaipur; November 28: vs Haryana; November 29: Gujarat; December 2: vs Delhi; December 7: Patna; December 14: vs Jaipur
Every individual is captain of our team. If they will perform their duty well then it will easy for our team to win the matches from any situation.
Girish Ernak (Puneri Paltan captain)
I have a great rapport with all my players and I hope to lead them to their optimum potential once we take to the mats in the opening round of the league. Our training camp has been a great success and the entire team is raring to go.
Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba Captain)