Jaipur Pink Panthers require a strong showing in their home leg if they are to make it to the Super Playoffs in Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. The Season 1 winners have had a stop-start campaign thus far with injuries to experienced personnel that has prevented them from fielding their strongest 7 on the mat.
However, a good run of results in front of their home faithful can change all that and Jaipur skipper Manjeet Chhillar for one hasn’t given up hope on making it beyond the league stage if his words in a chat with prokabaddi.com ahead of their home leg are anything to go by. “From the six matches in our home leg if we win at least four, then we can be in contention for the Super Playoffs.” Chhillar said.
The One Man Army also urged the home fans to get behind the team and make their presence felt. “My message for them is that we go out on the mat to win for them but if, God forbid, we are not able to perform well, I want to ask them to pray for us and not comment [negatively] about us,” he explained, “We leave our homes to perform for them and we’ve put in a lot of hard work to reach this stage. Some of our players are injured but they are still playing through their injuries. Support and motivate us and don’t demotivate the team.”
The robust all-rounder also offered insight into his role in the team, which has been slightly diminished this year after he picked up an injury earlier in the season. “I am also injured, which is why I am not practising much. I am focusing more on exercises and getting physically fit. The coach and I keep discussing strategies which can be used and we see which players are performing well during the practice sessions and take a call accordingly as to who will play the next match,” Chhillar said.
While expanding on if he is 100 percent match-fit yet, Chhillar added: “I haven’t been performing to my potential yet otherwise I would have been raiding as well. It will take time for me to be completely fit. We don’t have a left corner so I am playing in that position. We have Nitin Rawal but when he goes to raid I have to be in that spot and as a captain I have to stay on the mat for as long as possible.”
Chhillar also explained why he demands more from Rawal on the mat, while lauding both his and Pawan Kumar’s performances this year. “Both of them are performing well. Pawan is a raider and [it is only natural that] he will get tackled by opposition defenders sometimes. But I’ve told Nitin that you are our left corner and you should focus on defending rather than raiding because we have three raiders who can raid. This is the reason, if Nitin doesn’t perform in the corner I have to take that spot. If he plays well then there is no need for me to take that spot but I have to do it for the team,” Chhillar concluded.