Not only does it pin the raider down with precision, but also avers an all-out, which could pave way for a comeback. The Pune-based side has 32 ‘Super tackles’ to its credit in PKL 6 and is a runaway leader in the statistical chart. Sandeep Narwal (7) and Ravi Kumar (6) have claimed lion’s share of those, collecting 13 in total.
On how his team thrives in such circumstances, captain Girish Maruti Ernak, in an exclusive chat with DT Next, said, “Defence has been our strong point this season. It is always a bonus when you get an extra point (through a ‘Super tackle’). It all depends on the match situation, we don’t plan it before. We strategise accordingly and make it a point to trap the raider.”
“Defenders can have a hold on the match. In crunch moments, we will have to stand like a wall. Raiders will enter our zone with the motive of picking up a few points, but we try to dig deep,” he added. Bengaluru Bulls’ home leg was shifted to Pune due to the unavailability of the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore.
As a result of this, Puneri got to play three more matches in front of its passionate home fans at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex towards the end of November. Asked if the support of the local faithful gives the team an edge, he responded, “I would say it directly affects your performance in a sport like kabaddi. It’s good that we got to play a couple of games more (in Pune). The support was amazing.”
Skipper Girish has been a utility defender, playing in both corner and cover positions. But, he is in a league of his own when he works in tandem with fellow corner Sandeep Narwal, nicknamed ‘Beast from the East’. “I have been playing with him for a long time. We have an amazing co-ordination and every time we step on to the mat, we have only one goal in mind, which is to win the match.
Considering how the game pans out, we devise plans and execute it,” Girish spoke of his fellowship with the Indian international.