Maninder Singh’s injury might just expose Bengal’s overly reliant policy on the star raider.
Bengal Warriors’ astounding season has only blossomed with time courtesy of their ruthless raider Maninder Singh. The 29-year-old has come a long way after lifting the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship and established himself as one of the most consistent raiders in Pro Kabaddi. But an injury he picked up in an encounter against Dabang Delhi has raised concerns over the future performances of Bengal.
While the extent of the injury is still being analysed, it’s safe to say that Bengal won’t come across as the same menacing side that it was with Singh’s presence in the squad. There’s no debate about just how big of an impact Singh can create when on the mat, possessing an uncanny ability to get the best out of his teammates in crux situations.
Leading the way
Singh was one of the most prolific raiders for Bengal in the sixth season, garnering over 200 points in 22 matches, guiding them along the way. His performances have only enhanced during the ongoing season, averaging almost 10.25 raids per match, compared to 9.36 raids the previous season.
He possesses innate leadership skills and has been leading by exampl, scoring 205 raid points for Bengal so far. His two most notable performances came against Telugu Titans and Haryana Steelers, when he scored 17 and 18 points respectively, sweeping away crucial victories for his team in order to make them stay among the top six.
In the encounter against the Titans, Singh’s agility and speed came to the rescue as he got the better of the defenders on multiple occasions and left them in his wake. Constantly slipping out of the grasp of the defenders, he was hightailing it back to his own half in no time.
His importance is underlined by the fact that the next best raider for Bengal this season is K. Prapanjan, who has 101 points to his name — almost half of what Singh has scored in the ongoing season.
Can Bengal survive?
“We withdrew him to not aggravate the injury any further. He was in pain because Maninder isn’t the type of player who will leave the court with minor injuries. He’s played through hamstring and groin injuries in the past, but he was in a lot of pain tonight, which is why he had to leave the mat early,” was the statement made by Bengal’s coach BC Ramesh, which spoke volumes of Singh’s strength and determination.
Despite being unable to finish the match, Singh was still the best raider for Bengal, with 13 raid points. Bengal have been heavily reliant on him and if the injury persists, it will be a tough road ahead for the team from the east.
Feature image courtesy: Star Sports & Pro Kabaddi