With four wins, three draws and three losses, the Pro Kabaddi League’s city franchise Puneri Paltan is currently sitting in the fourth position with 32 points. Given its performance in the last two seasons and a shaky start to the third season, pundits had predicted another haywire season.
However, Paltan has surprisingly turned the tables. It now has a genuine chance of making it to the semi-finals which was the target set by owners ahead of the season. Even the players are confident of making the cut. Though bigwigs like Manjeet Chillar and Ajay Thakur have a sizeable share in this success, there is an underdog who has been really performing well in his maiden season, surprising everyone. He is former Railways player Surendra Singh.
Hailing from Hisar in Haryana, Singh has been playing professionally for more than five years now. But this is his first year in the in Pro Kabaddi League. However, with his potent raids and agile movement inside the opponent’s half, he hardly feels like a new enforcement and has already become popular among the Puneri fans.
It was Singh’s heroics that kept Paltan afloat against Bangalore Bulls in a home fixture earlier this month after two consecutive losses. Singh got five consecutive raid points and then finished off with a super raid that earned his team eight points in total. Paltan went on to win 29-27, despite some defensive errors.
“I think the coach’s advise worked for me. He had asked me to attack from the right, changing my conventional style. Initially, I was a bit hesitant. But when I employed his tactics, they reaped great benefits,” Singh says. Singh was crucial for the team when captain Manjeet Chillar was sidelined with an injury. “It is at such times, that you’re tested as a player. Manjeet is the brain of our team. However, in his absence, it is up to the others,” Singh added.