With arguably the best attacking unit in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 studded with star raiders, U Mumba surprisingly fell short in front of Puneri Paltan’s strong defence in their first match but ‘Captain Cool’ Anup Kumar is unperturbed. The Season 2 champions, however, appear to have learnt their lessons from their first game and are now looking ahead to their match against debutants Haryana Steelers with a positive frame of mind. Kumar spoke to prokabaddi.com ahead of the match and shared his thoughts. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

U Mumba had a good record against Puneri Paltan but what according to you went wrong in your first match?

We began the match well but as the game progressed, we started to lose control on the defence and the raiding was also not up to the mark. I think this led to the defeat against Pune.

On paper, U Mumba have a very strong unit with players like Kashiling Adake, Shabeer Bappu, Nitin Madane and others at their disposal but the team wasn’t able to come together in the first match. What could have been the reason?

We can’t look good only on paper. We have to look good on the mat as well. I know that we are a strong team but if we don’t perform in the match, then there is no point of being good only on paper. We lost the match because of the mistakes we made. Also, I think that the match was played at a very fast pace and we were not able to control the pace because of which we lost.

How is the team gearing up for the next tie after the initial setback?

Every team wants to start the league with a win but we couldn’t. I think still it’s a very good team and one of the strongest in the league. Now, we have to boost our confidence and play. We have learned a lot from the previous match. We will try to understand what mistakes we made, and make a better plan for the next match.

Your next challenge is Haryana Steelers, a new team in the league. The other new team, Tamil Thalaivas couldn’t perform that well in their first match, so do you think that Haryana are your perfect opponent in the next match?

Yes, of course! They will be a perfect competition for us because they have a lot of young players and young players tend to play with a lot of energy. We have to aim at weakening their energies in order to win against them. The rest the team is also really good and the match will be a fine one.

How is the atmosphere in the dressing room at the moment?

The atmosphere is completely fit and fine. There are no worries at all. I never let my team’s morale go down. Yesterday, we were practising together and devising ways to overcome the mistakes we made. It’s a long season and if we stick to the mistakes then we would not be able to focus on the season. We are in a positive mindset before the next match.