CHENNAI: Newly-appointed Tamil Thalaivas head coach Ashan Kumar has a monumental task in front of him in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 9, but is up for the challenge.
Ashan took up the top job on Monday after Thalaivas parted ways with ex-chief coach J Udaya Kumar on Sunday following the team’s fourth defeat. In six PKL 2022 matches under Udaya Kumar, the Tamil Nadu franchise earned just a solitary victory and 10 points.
“Right now, Thalaivas is not in a good position in the table (it occupies the 11th spot in the standings). But, I am confident that I will raise the level of the team and the players. The spectators will see the change [in the upcoming matches] and tell that the team is playing good kabaddi,” Ashan told DT Next in a telephonic chat, hours after his appointment.
“We will put our best foot forward. We will move up the table with good work. We are not thinking about play-off qualification; we are not looking too far ahead,” Ashan said.
Emphasis on defence
Ashan, a former Puneri Paltan coach, stressed that the Thalaivas defenders, who have been lacking consistency, must up their game. The southern outfit has secured 58 tackle points at an ordinary success rate of just 33.76 per cent.
“The teams that strike a balance between raiding and defending usually perform well. Our defence should be more effective. I will pay more attention to it. We have raiders with qualities – good technique, strength and speed. I will work with the team in Pune for a few days [before our next match against Jaipur Pink Panthers on Friday] and adapt accordingly.”
On missing the services of captain and lead raider Pawan Sehrawat, Ashan said: “In a body-contact sport like kabaddi, injuries are natural. He is injured, but he will come back soon. I do not have a problem; the other players are also good. I will adapt and set the team up.”