In a special mid-season press-conference for the ongoing 2019 season of Pro Kabaddi League, some of the leading coaches asserted that this season is the toughest and most unpredictable. They also added that with only the first-half gone, it is still uncertain where the various teams would end up in the points table as the gaps are very narrow.
"This season is the toughest. No team is assured of a place in the top-6," coach of Bengaluru Bulls said at the beginning of the event.
His views were seconded by other coaches as well. Srinivas Reddy who is coaching the Jaipur Pink Panther gave his explanation for this. "Seventh season is very unpredictable. I think super tackles are the reason for this," he suggested before adding "One day, one team does well but then performs poorly the next day. As coaches we can't understand why. It is very unpredictable."
Gholamreza Mazandarani, the Iranian coach of Telugu Titans gave a different but beautiful exposition of the current situation. "Now, Kabaddi is more like Chess. One mistake can change the match. So, every team has a chance."
He also talked about the growing importance of bench strength and strategy. "In this season, when a key player gets injured, the one who replaces him is also very good....Teams are now playing as per a strategy. They change their tactics according to the opposition. In this season, mind is more important than muscle."
All the coaches present on the occasion also expressed their happiness at the growing importance of defenders and the fact that they are no longer relegated to the background compared to raiders. "Defenders are no longer considered inferior to raiders. Now, defenders are also getting the same kind of recognition," Singh said in his remarks about the progress of this season's league.
Reddy fully concurred with the statement while Anup Kumar, former player and now the coach of Puneri Paltan gave a technical explanation for this phenomenon. "Our defenders are playing with shoes that give them better grip, so they are able to pull off more successful tackles."
Be it raiders or defenders, both have one thing in common, they are big stars now. The difference made to the life of these players was described in a very enthusiastic way by coach Randhir Singh right at the beginning of the conference.
"Today, government officials search for our players to give them jobs. Because of Pro Kabaddi League, so many people have got jobs....Earlier, Arjuna Awardees like me, who has participated in 42 nationals, both as a player and a coach, were not known by anyone. Today, even young players who have played just one season are well known. Nobody could have imagined that, one day, Kabaddi would get close to cricket's popularity."