Dabang Delhi K.C. will be desperate for a win when they face Tamil Thalaivas at The Arena in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Delhi head into the match following four consecutive losses and will have their task cut out against a Chennai-outfit high on confidence after a win and a tie in their last two matches. Dabang began their campaign with a victory against Jaipur Pink Panthers but have failed to pick up another win since. Veteran defender and one of the leaders of the Delhi squad Nilesh Shinde spoke exclusively to prokabaddi.com and shared his thoughts on the current predicament of the team and ‘that’ tackle on Sandeep Narwal in the Nagpur leg. Here are some excerpts.

You started the league with a win but it has been all downhill since. What are your thoughts on that?

I think there are some mistakes happening from the defence. If you see [the matches] we play really well in the first 25 minutes, so we have to continue that tempo and play the full match [that way]. But the problem arises when one of us, Sunil and me, get out. It’s a massive loss for the team. So, both of us have to play with a good combination and try to stay on the mat for as long as possible to handle the team well.

Is there any additional pressure because you already have so many consecutive losses after beginning the season with a win?

Yes, there is pressure because after winning the first match we lost many matches in a row but the season is long as well. We have to play matches with every team so if we rectify the mistakes which we are making, then definitely we will win the upcoming games. We are playing well and getting the lead in the match but there are some mistakes happening and if we stop making these mistakes, then we will win for sure.

Tell us about that stunning tackle you pulled off on Sandeep Narwal in the Nagpur leg.

He was not attentive in the match, so I got the opportunity and tackled him. In the match against U Mumba as well, I was looking for such opportunities and tackled them.

What was the reason behind substituting your captain Meraj Sheykh in some of your previous matches?

There is no specific reason. It was a strategy because he is our key player. He can change the game in our favour any time and he did that in a few matches but he was also tackled at times. But it’s a game and it happens. He is the captain but it doesn’t mean that he cannot be substituted, so we did it because of a strategy, nothing else.

You are one of the senior players in the team, so tell us how your kabaddi journey began.

My uncle was a kabaddi player. So, he used to take me to the matches and that’s how I got inspired to play kabaddi. When I turned 14 I started playing kabaddi. I have been playing kabaddi in Mumbai suburbs for the last 16 years. I received good support from my coach as well as my family members.

Tell us how Pro Kabaddi has changed your life.

It’s a really great experience because when we played for India we got a lot of respect and that was all because of Pro Kabaddi. When we travel in the bus, all the fans cheer for us, everyone knows us by our names. It is really a proud moment that all the people know us. Even in my local area everyone respects me and calls me for functions as a guest, so it really feels good that Pro Kabaddi has given us a lot of fame.