‘One Man Army’ Manjeet Chhillar is willing to sacrifice personal glory for collective success with Jaipur Pink Panthers in a bid to be crowned champions of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5. Adjudged the best defender in Season 1 and the Most Valuable Player in Season 2, the only thing missing from his decorated trophy cabinet is the coveted VIVO Pro Kabaddi title. Among all-rounders, he is the league’s top player with a massive total of 403* points to his name and has more tackle points (196*) than any other player. The robust all-rounder spoke to our reporter ahead of Jaipur’s first match of the season against Dabang Delhi K.C. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Manjeet, welcome back to another season! You have some exciting talent in your team. How are you guiding them?
The new players are junior-national or school-level athletes. One or two have played in the senior category as well. They ask us about areas they are lacking in. And we also tell them what we feel they should work on. And because I am the captain, I gather the team and sit them down and talk about these things. I also ask them for their opinion of me and where I make mistakes, so we discuss all of that. We have plenty of new players and 3-4 of them are very good.
Are you guys stronger in raiding or defence?
Our raiding is fairly good. In the defence too, there are Somvir Shekhar and Navneet Gautam, while in raiding we have Jasvir Singh and Selvamani K, who are very good.
Every season, you have enjoyed great personal success but the team often falls short in crunch matches. How do you assess that?
I'll say that even if I don't get a single point (or) put me on the bench, (it’s okay). But the team has to win! Because the player isn't big, it's the team. Take me out from the extras as well, but the team should win. It's not like I'll play for my record. Nothing like that.
Season 5 is also going to be the longest edition so far. Will this be also the toughest?
Even the last four seasons that we played were tough. It may be a long season but there's a larger gap between matches as well. Like we have a match tomorrow (29 July) and then the next match is August 10. So the gaps are longer.
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