Few would have expected Tamil Thalaivas to have reached the play-offs after the start they had to the Pro Kabaddi League season 9.
Losing the backbone of the team – Pawan Sehrawat in their opening game was a blow few people would think the Tamil Thalaivas would recover from. The team went on to win just one game out of their first six matches and were considered by many experts and kabaddi enthusiasts to be out of contention for the play-offs. But with moments of brilliance and some heroic team performances,
the Tamil Thalaivas have managed to fight their way into contention for a place in the playoffs of
this year’s PKL.
A lot of the credit goes to the Tamil Thalaivas management bringing in former India National Team coach Ashan Kumar who made an instant impact by changing the dynamics and tactics of the team which led them to the play-offs.
Speaking on the Star Sports show ‘Total KBD – Road to Play-offs’ Tamil Thalaivas coach Ashan Kumar spoke on how he managed to reinvigorate the teams spirit and managed to get the desired results, he said, “I accepted this challenge with a motive that our team needs to start performing well. As a coach, I focused on the strength factors of the team giving everyone equal responsibility making them understand as to how they can perform better. If we want to reach our goal we shouldn’t be looking back at our mistakes, as focussing on our past mistakes won’t get us our next victory.”
The Tamil Thalaivas have had some tremendous performers for them throughout the course of the season. These players have helped the team get out of sticky situations and also come in clutch when the team has needed them to step up.
After Pawan Sehrawat was stretchered off in their first match of the season, Narender has stepped up to be the pivot of the Tamil Thalaivas team. Narender’s performances have been of vital importance to the Thalaivas, with the star scoring 224 points this season. His performances have been key to the Tamil Thalaivas reaching the top six and the energy and enthusiasm he brings in to the team have made him one of the most feared players on the mat in this year’s PKL.
Skipper of the Tamil Thalaivas Ajinkya Pawar has had a stellar season by stepping up for the team when they need him the most with some impressive raids.
Pawar has amassed an impressive 124 points this season, making him one of the players to watch out for in the Tamil Thalaivas squad. He has built a solid partnership with Narender, and the duo have been a constant thorn in the side of the opposition with their chemistry together as raiders.
Ajinkya’s highlight game of the season was when the Tamil Thaliavas faced the Telugu Titans, where Ajinkya put in a match-winning performance to win the Southern Derby.
Ashan Kumar spoke on the combination of Narendra and Ajinkya Pawar’s for the Tamil Thalaivas and how their partnership has helped the team in winning games, he said, “Both Narender and Ajinkya have been working in tandem and the combination is so good that if one goes to catch a player the other tries to get a point.”
The left corner defender has been one of the most consistent performers for the Tamil Thalaivas and has been key to the team reaching the play-offs. With an 84.96% not out rate, Himanshu has saved a lot of points for the team and has grown from strength to strength throughout the course of the season. The defender will have to play a major part in the team’s play-off matches if the Tamil Thalaivas want to win the PKL.
Sagar Rathee has been on the top tacklers for the Tamil Thalaivas this season. With a tackle success rate of 51%, it was a concerning moment for the team when Rathee got an injury in the game versus the Jaipur Pink Panthers. While the team has felt his absence, they will be looking forward to having him back for the eliminator against UP Yoddhas. His assured presence on the mat makes him one of the players to watch out for in this strong Tamil Thalaivas side.