Having racked up truckload of points during his playing career, Anup Kumar will now marshal his men from the dugout in Pro Kabaddi 2019.
“We have been having a rigorous fitness routine coupled with a strict diet regime. But the camp is more than just about physical training. My job is to bring all the players together and make them move ahead with a single-minded aim,” added the two-time Asian Games gold medallist.
Except Anup and Haryana Steelers head coach Rakesh Kumar, the rest of the tacticians are experienced campaigners. But Anup isn’t perturbed and is positive about giving fellow coaches a run for their money in the upcoming edition.
“I have always aimed at being the best at what I do. The side has traditionally relied on its defence-heavy structure in the past. But this time around, we have got a powerful raiding unit as well. A good blend of experience and new talent has brought consistency to the team. Our squad has a lot of potential and a solid season awaits us.”
Irrespective of how calamitous a situation has been, Nitin Tomar, in the past, has handled it with great sangfroid. And, Anup indicated Nitin, in many ways, is a carbon copy of himself. “Maintaining composure during high-pressure times is an essential part of a sportsman’s life. He has a very mature and calm presence on the mat, and it’s a very important quality to have. We are quite similar in that aspect,” he revealed.
The organisers have done away with the zonal format, which was in operation in the last two editions. In Pro Kabaddi 7, each team will be pitted against its rivals twice, making it a double round-robin league phase. Anup feels the change will pave way for a grandstand finish to the first round. “It will make the league more competitive. We will see nail-biting twists and turns in the standings at the end. So, the teams will have to strategise accordingly,” he remarked.
PKL All Star match tomorrow
Mashal Sports, organisers of Pro Kabaddi, along with Star Sports will conduct a PKL All Star match at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. The clash will be held exactly one week prior to the PKL 7 curtain raiser (on July 20). The best players from across the globe have been divided into two sides – Indian 7 and World 7. Indian 7 will be led by national team and Tamil Thalaivas skipper Ajay Thakur and will be coached by the experienced Balwan Singh. The World 7 outfit, which will be captained by Iranian defender Fazel Atrachali, will have EP Rao as head coach. Pardeep Narwal, Pawan Sehrawat and Jang Kun Lee (South Korea) are expected to be a part of the contest. The match can be caught live on Star Sports Network and Hotstar.