Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) franchise Haryana Steelers on Thursday suffered a major blow when their captain and ace defender Surender Nada was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a broken elbow.
The franchise has now named star raider Monu Goyat as the skipper of the Haryana-based kabaddi team while 23-year-old raider Naveen Bajaj will replace Nada, who was injured during the Steeler's campaign opener against Puneri Paltan on Monday in Chennai.
Talking to IANS, Monu expressed confidence to deliver in his new role and said there was no added pressure on him.
"No doubt, the responsibility has increased for me but I'm looking forward to delivering," Monu said after taking over as captain of the Steelers.
"There is no added pressure on me. I will enjoy my game as I do as usual," he added.
When asked about his strategy for the long season ahead, the 25-year-old raider said: "Every captain has his own style and strategy. However, our strategy will depend on the team we face. We usually take suggesstion of every player before going into a game."
"As a captain, I will try to take the entire team as a unit, both on and off the field," Monu explained.
Further speaking on Nada, the newly appointed captain termed it as a 'major loss' for the Steelers.
"It is a major loss for the entire team. He (Nada) is one of the best left-corner in the world and his catching technique at that position is simply outstanding," Monu opined.
"The whole team will miss his (Nada) presence but now we are looking to all-rounder Kuldeep Singh, who is a player with immense potential," the captain added.
Meanwhile, announcing the development, Steelers' coach Rambir Singh Khokkar said: "Monu is one of our most experienced players on the squad and was the most obvious choice when we were looking for a new leader on the mat."
"Surender and Monu have their own strengths and styles of leadership and I am confident that while Monu cannot replace Surender, he will surely deliver," he added.
The Steelers began their Season 6 campaign on a disappointing note after losing to Puneri Paltan. They will now continue on to their home leg, where they will begin by playing Season 5 finalists Gujarat Fortunegiants on Friday.
That game will be followed by games against UMumba (Saturday), Puneri Paltan (Sunday), Jaipur Pink Panthers (October 16), UMumba again (October 17) and end their home leg against Dabang Delhi on October 18.
(With inputs from agencies.)