Bengal Warriors etched their name in Pro Kabaddi history when they lifted their maiden title after beating Dabang Delhi K.C. in the final of Season 7. The Kolkata outfit’s season was the epitome of team unity and squad depth. In a competition which glorifies individual brilliance more often than not, Bengal proved that to be successful in the tournament you need the whole team to fire. Teams can’t just rely on individuals to get them over the line. The whole unit needs to work in cohesiveness, whether its the attack or the defence.
Here we’ll take a look back and try to dissect what led to Bengal’s remarkable season in the Pro Kabaddi.
IMPRESSIVE BENCH STRENGTH
Towards the middle of Season 7, Bengal Warriors had picked up a reputation of pulling off outrageous comebacks. This helped them finish second in the league phase, just two points behind Dabang Delhi. Their captain and star raider Maninder Singh was the standout player for the team, finishing the season with 205 raid points. However, the team not faltering even in the absence of Maninder in the knockout stage of the tournament was a prime example of their solid bench strength.
All through the season, Maninder had decent support from the other raiders in the team who regularly chipped in when it was needed the most. While Maninder contributed 42% of the team’s raid points, the supporting raiders like K. Prapanjan, Mohammad Nabibakhsh and Sukesh Hegde combined to contribute 49%. Maninder emerged as the top raider in a match 10 times in Season 7, while the others combined to top in 13 other fixtures. This was a true illustration of their squad depth, which was not heavily reliant on the talent of one.
EXPERIENCED COACH AT THE HELM
Even though Bengal Warriors lifted their maiden trophy, the man leading them from the sidelines actually went on to retain the title. Coach B.C. Ramesh led Bengaluru Bulls to the trophy in Season 6 of Pro Kabaddi and secured the trophy again in Season 7 with Bengal. Ramesh has always maintained that his team is one of the best all-round sides in the tournament’s history and the victorious season has been a proof of it.
The coach can also be credited with some great picks at the auction, where they decided to embrace youth. He gave the crucial corner positions to two great talents and players with potential in Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal, both of whom delivered and scored in excess of 60 tackle points to have their best Pro Kabaddi season till date. This justifies how crucial the role of a coach is in turning the tides for teams.
PRESENCE OF COMMANDING FIGURES
When you talk about Bengal Warriors’ trophy-winning season, you can’t miss out the ever-so-influential Mohammad Nabibakhsh. The Iranian was given the added responsibility of leading the team in the absence of Maninder in the knockout phase of the tournament and he did that job exceptionally well.
Picked up by the Warriors for a massive INR 77.75 lakh in the auction, the expectations resting on the shoulders of the all-rounder were massive coming into the season. He had a quiet start and struggled to get going but went on to end the season with 122 points. He was instrumental in the final with a team that didn’t have their main captain and emerged as the ‘Player of the Match’ in the final with 10 points.
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