Warriors have a new star in Nabibakhsh
Kolkata: During the PKL Season-7 auction in July, Bengal Warriors management did a couple of things which took everyone by surprise. First, they splurged a purse of Rs 77.75 lakh to bring on board the Iranian allrounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh, who had a base price of just Rs 10 lakh, thus making him the most expensive foreigner in the ongoing season. Secondly, they showed no interest in retaining South Korean star Lee Jangkun as the top-scoring foreigner in the PKL history went to Patna Pirates, ending his sixseason association with the Warriors.
Warriors coach BC Ramesh — who had played with Bengal’s Biswajit Palit in the 1998 Asian Games — later justified the move, saying it would bring “a much-needed balance” in the team which is searching for the elusive title. Over halfway stage of the seventh season, Nabibakhsh repaid the faith in him by the coach, playing a crucial role in taking his team to the brink of sealing a playoff spot. Bengal are currently at second spot with 58 points from 15 matches, just a point behind league leaders Dabang Delhi.
Nabibakhsh, however, is not an unknown entity to the followers the game. He was a spotlight stealer during Iran’s historic triumph at the Jakarta Asian Games last year, breaking India’s domination.
“We settled for silver in the previous two Asian Games, losing to India on both occasions (in 2006 and 2010) before the Jakarta Games. India were so powerful that a silver looked like a gold for us then. But our mindset has changed now.”