Puneri Paltan defeated Patna Pirates by a scoreline of 41-20 at the Patliputra Indoor Stadium in Patna for their first win of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7. Puneri Paltan dominated the match from start to finish to hand the three-time champions their second successive loss in their home leg. Puneri Paltan coach Anup Kumar and Manjeet spoke to media at the post-match press conference, while coach Ram Mehar Singh took answered questions from the Patna Pirates camp.
Q. Coach, how does it feel to get your first win of the season?
Anup Kumar: We didn’t expect to come here and beat the home team in such an emphatic manner. Everyone thought that Pardeep Narwal would produce another strong performance but we didn’t allow him to play today.
Q. Manjeet, was playing with Patna Pirates last year an advantage for you today?
Manjeet: Yes, I was with the Patna Pirates last year and know how Pardeep and the others play, having practised with them. So, I used some of that knowledge to get the better of them on the mat today.
Q. Coach, what do you make of Pardeep’s performance?
Anup Kumar: From the two or three matches that I’ve seen so far, I feel that his speed has decreased, while the speed of the opposition defence has increased. There are a lot of quick youngsters in other teams who are playing well. When defenders are faster than raiders, it is tough for them to score raid points.
Q. Coach, was conceding such a huge lead early in the contest the reason behind today’s loss?
Ram Mehar Singh: Absolutely. You are right, because our strategy was to play a bit defensive at the start and ensure they (Puneri Paltan) can’t advance much while raiding. Pardeep Narwal, Jang Kun Lee and Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou couldn’t successfully complete a raid at the start plus our defence also made some mistakes so, we were under pressure from the start. Hence, I view this loss as a shortcoming in attack at the start of the match. We also made some mistakes in defence towards the end of the game.
Q. Can we expect changes to your starting 7 in Patna Pirates’ next match?
Ram Mehar Singh: Yes, that’s a possibility. We need to plan and analyse what the weakness of the opponent is. However, I’d like to say that there’s no weak team in Season 7 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. If we take any team lightly, we’ll have to face the consequences.
Q. What are your thoughts on Pardeep Narwal’s form?
Ram Mehar Singh: See, I feel that his speed and reflexes are very strong. I keep reminding him of that because unless he starts performing well, we will have problems.