23 August 2019
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After bowing out in the semi-finals of the previous season, Dabang Delhi made a strong start in the seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The team are currently placed second in the points table with five wins and one tie in the seven matches so far. And despite the team having experienced athletes likes of Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal, it is youngster Naveen Kumar, who has been a key figure in Delhi’s success.
The 19-year-old rookie is the leading the pack having secured the second-highest number of points (65) in the tournament so far. He already has six Super 10s under his name, the most by any player in the seventh season.
But Kumar credits his remarkable performance to the guidance of senior players, especially Joginder Narwal, who he says he considers an “elder brother.”
“It’s a team game so everything will work as per the team coach and senior players. I have personally learned a lot from skipper Joginder Narwal, Ravinder Pahal, Vishal Mane (who has been a part of many winning teams in the previous seasons),” Kumar said to indianexpress.com at Thyagarag Sports Complex in Delhi on Thursday.
Kumar said the motivation he gets from Narwal has had a huge impact on his performance on the mat, and looks forward to playing like him.
“Joginder Narwal is the senior-most player from our team and he mentors us like a coach and elder brother. He plays defence so I’ve learned a lot about how to evade the defenders from him. Before every raid, he motivates me and passes essential tips on how to earn points for the team. I’ve always looked forward to playing like him,” Kumar said.
Kumar said that in a sport like kabaddi what matters is the performance on the mat and the stats don’t matter.
Speaking on Delhi’s strategy in the upcoming home leg, which starts from Saturday, Kumar said, “Every team is equal for us and it all depends on the mistakes a particular side makes during the match. We are training hard and are making different strategies for every team and players.”