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PKL 2021: I am the support raider to Naveen in Dabang Delhi: Ajay Thakur

Former Indian captain and Padma Shri Awardee Ajay Thakur talks to The Bridge about his new PKL team, Dabang Delhi.

Ajay Thakur Dabang Delhi

Ajay Thakur (Source: Dabang Delhi)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 23 Dec 2021 7:32 AM GMT

Having spent the previous three seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League with the Tamil Thalaivas, the Padma Shri Awardee and former Indian captain Ajay Thakur makes his way to the Dabang Delhi KC for the first time ever.

One of the stalwarts of Indian Kabaddi, this will be the first time that we might see Ajay Thakur play a second fiddle to someone in the raiding department with the young Naveen Goyat expected to lead the charge once again for the Dabang Delhi.

"Naveen is leading our team as a raider. He is our main raider and there is no doubt about that. As a senior player, my main aim would be to ensure that Naveen does not stay off the court for long. We cannot afford him not playing," Thakur said in an exclusive interaction with The Bridge.

The 35-year-old seemed pretty stoked ahead of Dabang Delhi's opening clash against Puneri Paltan.

"We have been in the camp since October. We first trained in a bubble in Chandigarh before coming to the PKL bio bubble. The entire team has shaped up very well and the best thing is we do not have any injury concerns to worry about."

Having spent a majority of the Covid-19 pandemic serving as the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Haryana Police, Thakur maintains that he is back on track with his Kabaddi action.

"It was my duty to serve the nation then, as a police officer. I could not run away from my responsibility. I could have taken a long leave then, but my conscience did not allow me to," he says with a wry smile. "Right now, I believe I am on track. Even during the lockdowns, I was trying my best to stay fit with whatever I could do at home."

Thakur is also reunited at the Dabang Delhi with his old teammates, Manjeet Chillar and Joginder Narwal.

"The three of us have been playing together for close to 15 years. We have played together for India, in PKL as well. It is always fun to have those two around. We get separated at times in PKL, but eventually end up together," he chuckles.

Having finished as the runners up in the previous edition, the Dabang Delhi management seems to have managed to create a balanced team with a perfect mixture of youth and experience in this season.

"Yes, on paper we are a very balanced team. We have the experience as well as the energy of the youth. This should hold us in good stead. But it does not matter how strong you are on paper, you need to click together as a team under pressure. Only then will the team win. This is exactly what we have worked on in the past couple of months," Thakur signed off.

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