Jaipur Pink Panthers raced off the blocks in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7 with an impressive 42-23 victory over U Mumba in their first match of the campaign. Captain Deepak Niwas Hooda was the standout star for Jaipur Pink Panthers and scored 11 raid points. Right Corner Amit Hooda was rock solid in defence and scored a High 5. Jaipur Pink Panthers’ coach Srinivas Reddy attended the post-match press conference, while U Mumba coach Sanjeev Kumar and captain Fazel Atrachali were present from the opposition camp.

Jaipur Pink Panthers

Jaipur Pink Panthers coach Srinivas Reddy after his side’s win over U Mumba.

Q. Your thoughts on the game.

Srinivas Reddy: It was a very important match for us because this is the seventh season and before today, we never won our first match of the season against U Mumba prior. So, before the match both Abhishek Bachchan (Jaipur Pink Panthers owner) and I spoke to the players and told them it’s a very important match for us and we must change history. That’s what I told my captain Deepak Hooda and he delivered from the first raid.

Q. Did you have any particular plans against U Mumba?

Srinivas Reddy: I have a simple style of play where I believe attack is the best form of defence. If you keep attacking, momentum builds automatically. If you want to disturb the opposition players, then you have to attack from the very first raid. Kabaddi is such a game; you have to play it physically, mentally and psychologically as well. If you get a psychological edge over the opponent in the initial stages, then they definitely find it tough and we’ll have an advantage. The best thing about my team is the average age is very low and they are hungry to prove themselves on the mat. It was a collective effort by everyone.

Q. What did you tell your team when it seemed like U Mumba could mount a comeback?    

Srinivas Reddy: U Mumba are a very good team. It’s not like they didn’t play well. You saw what a good team they are during their win over Telugu Titans earlier in the league, but today what we did is shut down the scoring zones for their raiders. When your raiders struggle then the pressure automatically shifts to the defence.

U Mumba

U Mumba’s coach Sanjeev Kumar and captain Fazel Atrachali after the match against Jaipur
Pink Panthers

Q. Your thoughts on the match.

Sanjeev Kumar: Both teams have their plans going into games. We couldn’t execute our plans tonight. Our raiders also couldn’t quite get as many points as they usually do. Luck wasn’t really on our side today.

Q. Did you feel the need to change your strategy in the second half?

Sanjeev Kumar: Our plans weren’t working. Neither our defenders nor our raiders managed to get a foothold in the match. There was a chance of getting an All-Out when they had just two players on the mat and their raider got points without trying too hard. So, that was a mistake on our part, but these things happen during matches. Today Jaipur Pink Panthers’ raiders and defenders played well.

Q. Fazel, what do you have to say about the match?

Fazel Atrachali: We were poor in the initial stages and that’s the reason (for the loss). It was the first match for Jaipur Pink Panthers, but the second match for us. They had the chance to watch us play but we didn’t get a chance to watch them before today.

Q. Fazel, what are the areas you need to improve on?

Fazel Atrachali: This is not the first time our team is playing such a tournament. We know that all teams will lose sometimes. It’s ok, it’s a good experience for us. We must identify our mistakes before the next match and try not to repeat them.