A 17-point performance from skipper Maninder Singh helped Bengal Warriors see off Telugu Titans in a close encounter that finished 40-39 in their favour as they climbed to the summit of the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 standings. At the post-match press conference, coach BC Ramesh and Maninder took questions for Bengal Warriors, while ‘Baahubali’ Siddharth Desai, coach Gholamreza Mazandarani, assistant coach Jagdish Kumble and captain Abozar Mohajermighani represented Telugu Titans.
Q. Coach, how important was this win?
BC Ramesh: Extremely important victory for us. Our next match is against Dabang Delhi K.C. and we had to make sure we won today to give ourselves a chance of finishing at the top of the standings. We played well at the start and built a substantial lead but then ended up allowing them a way back in the match. We raided without purpose a few times towards the end and while it is important to play safe, we can’t put in empty raids and then give away points in defence. We have done this in the previous games as well and we need to rectify that.
Q. Will we see some rotation in the upcoming matches?
BC Ramesh: Well, we already gave chances to Sunil Dubile and Sukesh Hegde today. It's about finding the right combination on the mat. We have so much quality in the roster, but it is necessary to find the right balance as well. We will see how it goes in the upcoming matches and then decide to rotate our starters.
Q. Maninder, does the team have its sights set on the semi-finals?
Maninder Singh: We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. We have to take it match by match and play each team on their merit. There’s still plenty of games left, so we need to ensure that we maintain our form and our focus.
Q. Thoughts on the game?
Jagdish Kumble: An excellent game of kabaddi. It was closely contested for the entirety of it. One or two points in our favour could have yielded a different result. All we can do now is focus on the upcoming matches and hope that results elsewhere go our way.
Q. When did Bengal Warriors take the game away from your side?
Jagdish Kumble: I believe Maninder dealt a heavy blow with that three-point self out. Their defence tackled our raider (soon after) and then Maninder got the All-Out. So suddenly, a tied game turned into a six-point lead for them and that was indeed the turning point of the game. Later in the game, Siddharth was raiding extremely well but Maninder's pursuit that sent him to the bench was a real setback at a crucial time in the game.
Q. Is there something specific that you can pin the team's struggles on?
Gholamreza Mazandarani: It’s a completely revamped roster. With the exception of maybe three players, it’s a roster that has been built from scratch with a lot of young players. While youth gives you exuberance, it also brings inexperience and that has been our big downfall this season. But these players are growing and learning with every passing game.