CHENNAI: On Guru Purnima – which fell on Wednesday – PKL Season 7 champion Bengal presented Kasinathan Baskaran as its chief coach for the ninth edition of the League. Having replaced BC Ramesh – who guided Warriors to its maiden title in 2019 – at the helm, Baskaran is back in Pro Kabaddi after a four-year absence. The 2016 World Cup-winning India coach last worked with Tamil Thalaivas in the team’s debut campaign in PKL 2017.
“I am delighted to return to Pro Kabaddi. Despite knowing that I was not part of the League for three seasons, Bengal has put its faith in me. In general, I like to work hard. On my comeback, I look forward to working even harder and achieving glory,” Baskaran told DT Next a day after officially taking charge.
“I have always been impressed with the Warriors management. It has been doing a good job since the first season. Like every other coach, my aim is to win the trophy. I am confident of making Bengal the champion again,” Baskaran added.
Baskaran said that he cannot wait to join forces with Bengal’s talismanic raider Maninder Singh, who is set to be retained ahead of the upcoming auction.
Baskaran and Maninder had forged a successful player-coach partnership in the inaugural edition of Pro Kabaddi, in which the duo had led Jaipur Pink Panthers to the crown.
“My favourite player Maninder is with Warriors. He is a great player who always listens to the coaches’ instructions. The combination is back!”
‘Need to bolster defence’
Bengal and Ramesh decided to go different ways after the team finished a disappointing ninth in PKL Season 8. In a bid to rise again, the management opted for a change of guard.
Asked if he is under pressure to deliver immediate success, Baskaran responded: “Not at all. I have plenty of experience in building a team and coaching players. Bengal’s defensive unit was a bit weak in the previous season, so we need improvement in that department. I always come up with a plan and stay calm in every situation.”
Despite knowing that I was not part of the League for three seasons, Bengal has put its faith in me. I am confident of making Bengal the champion again — Kasinathan Baskaran,
Bengal Warriors head coach