Jaideep’s tackles, Joginder’s experience, and Amir’s strength: Haryana Steelers look to revive after slow start in PKL 9

Haryana Steelers kicked-off the latest edition of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) on a stellar note. The Joginder Narwal-led Steelers secured a 41-33 win against Bengal Warriors in their season opener and went to secure another 27-22 win over Tamil Thalaivas. However, the team has failed to replicate their form and have since endured four consecutive defeats, putting them on the ninth position of the 12-team points table.

Despite the lacklustre show in their recent matches, defender Jaideep Dahiya believes that plenty of league matches still remain, assuring fans that Steelers will soon find the lost rhythm. “There are 22 matches in the league, so winning or losing is not our focus at the moment. We are more focused on identifying our mistakes and rectifying it. And then we’ll surely return back to winning ways,” the defender told hindustantimes.com in a telephonic interview.

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For Steelers to make a resounding comeback, the team will heavily rely on Jaideep, who made a sensational PKL debut with Steelers last season. Jaideep, who is mostly seen rendering his service on the left side of the mat, accumulated a total of 66 points in the previous season. Such was his dominance that he finished as one of the top four defenders in the previous edition.

Jaideep, in fact, is ready to produce an even improved show this time around. “My previous season was my debut and it went really well. So I’m very motivated to help my team to win matches. Our coach had organised a two-month camp in Bengaluru, and there were small gaps in my skill sets, which we worked on and we are still working on it,” he stated further.

While Jaideep strengthens the firepower in Steelers defence, they also have Kabaddi veteran Joginder Narwal in their ranks. Joginder is the most experienced player in PKL roster, making him a valuable asset for the Steelers.

Sharing his thoughts on the learnings from Joginder, the defender immediately points at his experience and then describes how he has been helping the team as a leader. “I don’t think anyone is more experienced than him (Joginder Narwal) in Pro Kabaddi. He discusses game plans like a captain should do. He plays as per the team requirements. If we need to tackle, he won’t hesitate and march off the mat, and when he is playing with us, he gives nothing short than 100 percent,” said Jaideep.

Jaideep also feels Steelers have done a good job in the auction, drawing attention towards the corners, and one name he pointed out was the addition of Iranian defender Amir Hossein Bastami. The new recruit has already shown, what he can do on the mat in the match against U Mumba, which Steelers lost by a point. “In the previous season we lacked the firepower in the corner, this time we have strengthen that department,” said Jaideep.

In the match against U Mumba, Amir single handedly overpowered star raider Guman Singh, pulling him back inches away from the mid line. He had done something similar against Naveen Kumar during their clash against Dabang Delhi, which also was a close affair.

Steelers will aim to return to winning ways, when they take on Puneri Paltan at their home venue on Friday. Paltan are placed fifth and have one extra win as compared to Steelers from the same number of matches.