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PKL 2021: "We are working on improving coordination," says UP Yoddha's Surender Gill

The standout performer for UP Yoddha in PKL 2021, Surender Gill, talks to The Bridge about the team's slow start this season.

Surender Gill UP Yoddha

Surender Gill escapes the Jaipur Pink Panthers defence on his way to Super 10


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 1 Jan 2022 5:02 AM GMT

The UP Yoddha have had a slow start to their campaign in PKL 2021. Having played three matches, the Yoddha sit at a lowly number 9 in the points table with just one win and two losses.

While their defence led by captain Nitesh Kumar has failed to fire as a unit, their INR. 1.65 crore splurge on Pardeep Narwal, too, seems questionable, with the most successful Pro Kabaddi League raider not looking like his usual self despite having a Super 10 against his name.

Amidst all their struggles so far in this season, one name which has shone brightly is their third raider, Surender Gill. The youngster feels that there was a lack of coordination in the team, leading to under-par performances.

"I feel there was a lack of coordination in the team in the first three matches. It happens sometimes when you play with new players. The coordination is something we are working on day in and day out and we are slowly getting there," says Gill in a conversation with The Bridge.

Surender Gill has pocketed 18 raid points in 3 matches so far this season, including a Super 10 in the third game against Jaipur Pink Panthers and a match-winning final raid against three-time champions Patna Pirates.

"There is nothing special in the way I am training or anything. Our coach Jasveer Singh has carved a specific role for me in the team and this clarity has helped in the recent performances. My mental approach, too, has been the same as always," he states.

One of the standout moments just a week into PKL 2021 has been Surender Gill's smart final raid against the Patna Pirates. With Pardeep Narwal out on the mat against his former side, the onus was on Gill to return with a point in the final raid – a do-or-die, of the match to ensure a win for his side.

Gill went in calmly and crossed the baulk line with relative ease. The Pirates defence then had a momentary lapse in concentration and Gill almost walked into their defence and crossed the bonus line. He knew he had done it and did not bother getting out.

The Pirates defence managed to tackle him without a struggle, but the damage was already done.

"Everything was very clear in my head when I went for that raid. I knew if I tried to be very aggressive, they might catch me easily. I went in for the raid thinking that I will try for the bonus and nothing more. For some reason, I got it without much hassle," Surender explains.

The 23-year-old states that having Pardeep Narwal by his side has certainly helped him improve his game and has helped him play in a more assured manner.

"Having Pardeep Narwal in the team as the main raider means that I am under no pressure. I have been able to play with complete freedom, ekdum khul ke raid maarta hoon (I raid with complete freedom)," he says.

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