Dabang Delhi is one of the rising sides of the Pro Kabaddi League in the past few seasons. After struggling early on, they’ve quickly risen through the ranks and emerged as one of the favourites of the tournament in recent times.
From finishing in the bottom half of the table in the first few seasons, the team’s fortunes have changed dramatically ever since coach Krishan Hooda came to the helm in season six. Dabang Delhi were crowned champions in the last season after finishing as the runners-up the year before.
The secret behind their increased consistency in recent seasons has been the rise of big names such as star raider Naveen Kumar. Kumar played a major role in the team’s run to title victory last year despite suffering an injury midway. He is one of the major names going into this season. Both Kumar and coach Hooda are confident of becoming only the second team after Patna Pirates to defend their title successfully.
“We had senior and young players last season, and it’s the same this time around as we have both senior and young players such as Sandeep bhai sahib (Dhull), and Ravi (Kumar), Amit Hooda, etc. The team does change a bit, but the confidence remains the same, rather it’s twice as much this time around. There are a lot more youngsters this time around who perform really well,” Naveen Kumar was quoted as saying by Firstpost.
“And we’ve played with these guys before, guys such as Vishal, Amit, Sandeep. So I think we’ll perform a lot better than we did the last time around,” he added.
“Dabang Delhi team is a lot better this season than last year”: Krishan Hooda
Coach Hooda, who was awarded the prestigious Dronacharya Award in 2020, had similar views talking about the team’s chances going forward.
“I have a lot of hopes this season, and am confident that the Dabang Delhi team this season is a lot better than the one we had last year. And I have belief in this team, in their ability to successfully defend the title this time around,” said Hooda in a conversation with Firstpost.
“We had a lot of senior, ‘old-age’ players last season. This time we have a lot of young blood in our ranks who are very talented at the same time. I have a lot of hopes from this team as far as their performance and their ability to defend the title is concerned,” he added.
The ninth season of the Pro Kabaddi League gets underway on Friday, 7 October with defending champions Dabang Delhi KC taking on 2015 champions U Mumba in the opening game of the season at Bengaluru’s Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.