Surjeet Singh: A good defender needs to capitalise on raider’s mistake

Bengal Warriors ended Season 4 as the league’s bottom-placed team but this season they have been a revelation as they have secured a place in the play-offs after topping Zone B comfortably. With a new team, new coach and new captain, the team has left behind all criticisms to emerge as a powerhouse in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5. A major share of their absolute dominance on the mat needs to be credited to skipper Surjeet Singh. One of the best cover defenders in the country, Surjeet so far has led his troops remarkably well. In an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com recently, the season’s second best defender shared what it takes to become a world-class defender and the skills one needs to chisel. Here are the excerpts from the interview. What does one need to do to be a good defender? According to me, one shouldn’t make any mistakes before the raider. A good defender is one who capitalizes on the raider’s mistake and leads the team’s defense. A defender should tackle the raider only when it is required and not unnecessarily. He is good at his job when he finds out the weakness of the raider, no matter how good the raider is and capitalizes on it. What is your strategy on the mat, and which skill are you working on currently to improve? I tackle the raider who tries for a bonus point and that’s my best skill. I am practicing the dive to perfect it, and in the practice sessions I work on that skill only. Your short block is one of the best in the league. Tell us about it. I stay close to the raider at the time of a short block and when the raider makes a mistake, I tackle him. Any advice for the young defenders who look up to you… My only advice is that they need to practice and give more time to this sport. Ask the coach about your weakness and try to improve that. Every player, whether it’s a raider or defender, has at least one skill, and they should practice it more because that skill will get them points. How important is it to have a strategy in this sport? It is very important. In one of the matches, when Haryana were playing against Patna, they were in a comfortable lead. But at that time, they couldn’t make a proper strategy and the match ended in a tie. A solid strategy for the defense as well as for the raiders is needed to keep the lead and maintain the momentum.