All-rounder Nitin Rawal has started a new journey in Pro Kabaddi League this year as he joined Haryana Steelers after spending four years with Jaipur Pink Panthers. Haryana Steelers roped in Rawal for INR 37.5 lakh as his signing was the missing piece in the jigsaw for them as they were in desperate search of an all-rounder in the squad.
In his initial season of PKL, Rawal was quite proactive in raiding but with every season passing, he shifted his game towards defending. He joined Jaipur in 2017 as one of the brightest prospects in Indian kabaddi at that time as the franchise also showed full support for him during their four-year association with him.
In an exclusive conversation with News18, Rawal talked about his time at Pink Panthers and how he will use his learning from his time at Jaipur with his new team Haryana Steelers.
“My journey in PKL started with Jaipur Pink Panthers, the signed me on a two-year contract. When I joined them, there were several big stars in the team including Manjeet Chillar, Navneet Gautam and others. I got a chance to play with them and learnt a lot from them. They also retained me for two more years," Nitin Rawal told News18.
“Whatever I learnt at Jaipur Pink Panthers, I will use at my new team Haryana Steelers. Our coach Manpreet Singh has won the PKL trophy as a player which will help other players to learn from him and get motivated by him to win the trophy this year,"
The 26-year-old suggested that he has made some changes to his gameplay as he focuses more on the defence but will be ready to raid if his team requires it," he added.
“I am focussing more on my defensive game now. I have stopped doing raiding for the past year and will play the raider’s role for Haryana Steelers this season. Will follow the coach’s orders if he wants me to be available for the raid then I will do it for the team. But my game will revolve around my defending only," Rawal said.
He is currently the only designated all-rounder in the Steelers’ camp but it doesn’t put any added pressure on him.
Confident Rawal feels that he has enough experience to play the all-rounder’s role and is ready to give his all for the team.
“It’s not like there are more responsibilities on me. I played as an allrounder before in PKL and 4 seasons of experience is useful to perform. In match situations, I play as per the coach’s plan in defence and in raiding. I take things normally and don’t put much pressure on myself. All-rounders play a big role as when two raiders got out of the game then it is my responsibility to get some points through the raid. And the same goes for defending if a left corner got out of the game then I have to take his place also," he added.
On facing his old team Pink Panthers, the 26-year-old said that he doesn’t put pressure on himself and will take it as any other match.
“I will take it as any other match, won’t change my gameplay against them as playing against Jaipur Pink Panthers won’t affect me in any way," he said.
The all-rounder revealed that he has worked on his strength before the start of this season as his primary focus is on defending with Haryana.
“I have worked on my strength. In the extra time after the training session, I train hard to improve my strength," Rawal added.