Having trained in Dehradun for the most awaited VIVO Pro Kabaddi League season 6, Dabang Delhi captain Joginder Singh Narwal will hope to end his team’s horror of the tournament. Dabang Delhi are the only team – amongst those who have been a part of the tournament since season 1 – who are yet to make an appearance in the play-offs. The highest they have achieved in the tournament’s history was a fifth-placed finish which came in the inaugural season of the tournament.
On paper, Delhi have a pretty well-balanced squad but if the history is anything to go by, the only thing matters is the performance. Having a poor track record thus far, this Delhi team will be far from being tipped as the potential winners, which eventually makes them the dark horses of the tournament.
The team’s hierarchy, on their part, decided to shuffle their roster this time and that now makes them one interesting unit to keep an eye on. But the biggest name that remains in Delhi is Meyraj Sheikh, who gathered 104 points last season and was the highest scoring all-rounder of the season 5. He was the only all-rounder to cross the 100-point mark.
Another player in their rank who has a similar trait to that of Meraj is all-rounder Rajesh Narwal. Narwal’s recent form has somehow dipped a big time, but if he ticks and gets back to his previous best – he averaged four raids per game in his first four seasons of PKL – Delhi would be a force to reckon with. And bought for only Rs. 16 lakh this term, he could well be their masterstroke.
Their raiding department looks pretty stable too. Shabeer Bappu, who plied his trade with U Mumba last season, has been bought and judging by his numbers (200 points from 54 matches), he gives his new team a cutting edge. Another name in their raiding list is Pawan Kumar Kadian, who spent his previous season with Jaipur Pink Panthers. Known for his specialty in a do-or-die raid, Pawan gathered an impressive 122 points from 21 matches last season.
There’s more! Delhi smashed their bank and went as far as Rs. 61.25 lakh to get their hands on Chandran Ranjith. Ranjith wasn’t given many opportunities in his first two seasons of the tournament, but once he got into the groove, he picked 51 points from 11 matches last season.
Furthermore, their defence looks well sorted as well, with the new captain Joginder Singh Narwal forming a duo with in-form defender Vishal Mane. Mane, who works as a right cover, impressed one and all with his performances for Patna Pirates last season, averaging 1.38 tackles per game. Their defence is further stabilized by the presence of Ravinder Pahal and a cover in form of Tushar Balaram Bhoir.
Apart from a great team on paper, the fact that all of their victories in season 5 came away from home further makes them a stronger unit.