A 13th consecutive Super 10 from Naveen Kumar propelled Dabang Delhi K.C. past Gujarat Fortunegiants by a scoreline of 34-30 at the Shree Shiv, Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Sunday. At the post-match press conference, Dabang Delhi K.C. coach Krishan Kumar Hooda and skipper Joginder Singh Narwal took questions for their team, while coach Manpreet Singh and raider Rohit Gulia represented Gujarat Fortunegiants.
Dabang Delhi K.C.
Q. Thoughts on the game and Gujarat Fortunegiants' comeback?
Krishan Kumar Hooda: The game of kabaddi is played for 40 minutes. One team can play well in the first half and the other can respond just as well in the second. We played well against a good team and executed the gameplan well. All 12 teams are evenly matched in this league so a win against any team is a great result.
Q. Thoughts on a potential showdown with Bengal Warriors in the playoffs?
Krishan Kumar Hooda: We don’t think that far ahead in the future and we don’t plan for a specific team or player in advance. There’s a lot of kabaddi left to be played. We can only plan for playoffs post the Jaipur leg. There is no rush to plan for any team in particular. We take it game by game.
Q. 60 points in being considered the cut off mark for a playoffs spot. You are on 64. Thoughts?
Krishan Kumar Hooda: I did not set that mark. I don’t believe in predicting the future. Each result is different. Any team can win four on the trot and climb a few places in the table. Puneri Paltan, who are on 34, Patna Pirates, who are on 35, still have the belief that they will make it to the playoffs. I do agree that 60 points will most certainly guarantee a spot in the playoffs. But the future has no guarantees.
Q. Are you aiming to finish in the top two?
Krishan Kumar Hooda: Sachin Tendulkar once said; “Always dream and aim for more.” The position we are in, we have to push for a top two finish. We cannot dwell on what has happened and rest on our laurels and stay content with our current position.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Manpreet Singh: We couldn’t execute our gameplan in attack in the first half. In the second half, our raiders played like we had planned to from the start. Had we executed our plan in the first half, we would have won comfortably.
Q. How you rate your chances of making it to the playoffs?
Manpreet Singh: Right now, we are in a spot of bother. We need to win our six games to stand a chance. If we played like we played today, it’s going to be difficult. Sure we need a few favours from other teams in terms of results but if we play like we have and don’t help our cause, how can we expect other teams to help us?
Q. What will you attribute your inconsistent season to?
Manpreet Singh: We have lacked the firepower coming off the bench. In the past, we have had players like Mahendra Rajput, K. Prapanjan, who would come off the bench in tricky situation and show their maturity and experience. That has been an issue for us. We haven’t played badly, but we've had trouble cashing in on our advantage and closing out games.
Q. The team had a strong spell in the second half. What was different?
Manpreet Singh: My players are unable to play according to the plan in the first half. They wake up in the second half and get the game close. They need to be able to play well for 40 minutes. I'm not the kind of coach that will scream and shout at my players. I believe in teaching them the right way to play and I hope they learn soon.