Girish, Manjeet key to Paltan’s resurgence

Aayush Majumdar
Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Girish, Manjeet exude confidence as Puneri Paltan aim to find winning formula

Pune: Puneri Paltan got off to a rocky start in the ongoing seventh season of Pro Kabaddi league, with the team struggling to find its feet in the first two legs in Hyderabad and Mumbai respectively, remaining win-less after their first three games. The Pune-based outfit, coached by former India captain Anup Kumar, had a hard task at hand in their bid to register a first win this season, as they faced home team Patna Pirates, with Pardeep Narwal looking to inflict more damage. 

But the Pune side got their act together, returning a solid all-round performance for a resounding 41-20 win to get that all-important first win.

They followed it up with a hard-fought 33-31 win over Gujarat Fortunegiants, one of the most consistent sides in the last couple of seasons.

Experienced defender Girish Ernak and key raider Manjeet, two of the men who played a major role in those two victories, credited clarity in action as a unit behind the improved performance. “We went back to the drawing board after the loss to Bengal Warriors and thought about what we needed to do, and went in with a more attacking mindset which helped us. Both the raiding and defensive departments took their chances rather than waiting back,” said Girish, speaking to Sakal Times.

Gelling well as a unit
Manjeet echoed his thoughts on the same, further adding, “In the previous two matches, we played more as a unit and complimented each other well, which is a very good sign going forward.” The young raider himself stepped up to the occasion, returning the same number of points (11) in the two victories, as he did in three games prior to that. When asked about his performance, he again laid emphasis on how the morale of the team rubs off onto him. “I’m glad to be contributing, but it is teamwork that motivates me. Our raiding department has also started to combine well and we will keep going,” said Manjeet, also optimistic towards star player Nitin Tomar’s recovery and his presence that will add some firepower to the arsenal.

While Anup, who is in a transition phase as coach, has had an early experience of the highs and lows that come with it, both Girish and Manjeet projected confidence in his methods and style of coaching. “Being such a highly experienced player himself, his understanding of the game helps him realize what is needed in a particular situation and which player is needed when. He took stock of what went wrong in those first three games and his inputs are always valuable,” said Girish whose defensive acumen along with skipper Surjeet Singh’s are crucial to the team’s chances 
going forward.

Strength in defense
Girish praised his captain’s leadership skills as well, adding, “He is a good leader and has had prior captaincy experience in PKL that has helped him a lot,” he said.

Paltan played their next game against table toppers Dabang Delhi in Ahmedabad on Saturday and lost a close battle 30-32 , and while it is still early days in the league, the team will be itching to get more wins under their belt.

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