Telugu Titans maintained an early lead to get the better of Tamil Thalaivas in their opening match and win by a 33-28 scoreline. Raider Rahul Chaudhari, captain Vishal Bhardwaj and coach K Jag Mohan were present for Telugu Titans at the post-match press conference while coach E Bhaskaran and captain Ajay Thakur took questions on behalf of Tamil Thalaivas.
Q. The whole stadium was cheering for you, Rahul. How did you feel?
Rahul Chaudhari: It felt very good that the crowd was supporting us. The support we got enabled us to play well. I’m very happy with the team’s performance today and also with the support I got from the defence.
Q. You played the same seven throughout the game. Was your strategy to play your strongest team?
Vishal Bhardwaj: Our team is very good. The three Iranians (Abozar Mohajermighani, Mohsen Maghsoudlou and Farhad Rahimi Milaghardan) are very fit. The Iranians played very well and made a difference which is why we didn’t need to make any changes.
Q. Rahul, you played very well. Are you happy with the team’s performance?
Rahul Chaudhari: Yes, they played well today. Mohsen and Nilesh (Salunke) both scored well. Our strategy was that out of the three of us, two will go to the midline and then one will raid from there. It worked out very well for us. We each planned to spend more time on the mat and that helped us in a way that at least two of us were always there for the team. We will come up with a stronger performance against U.P. Yoddha.
Q. It was a complete team effort today as observed by the fact that all 7 got at least a point. What do you have to say about that?
Vishal Bhardwaj: We are a good team, a fit team and have been coached very well. So, we did have hopes of everyone doing well which is what happened. So, it’s a very good feeling especially when it happens on your captaincy debut.
Q. It was a very well-fought game. What are your views on this game?
E Bhaskaran: Telugu Titans played quite well. They kept the pressure on us. We need a little time to get our combination right and to get everyone on the same page. This game, we were in it right till the end. And it is my belief that we will soon get back to winning.
Q. As far as raiding goes, it was yet another good day for your team with Athul contributing well yet again. Where do you think you could have improved?
Ajay Thakur: In my opinion, we couldn’t convert in our third raid which we should have done. In scenarios like these, it’s all about decision-making. Those can be right or wrong. And I felt our decision-making could have been better.
Q. Towards the end of the game, you weren’t raiding as much. Was there a thought behind that or some strategy?
Ajay Thakur: At that point in time, the right side wasn’t as strong. So, we decided to try out Athul from the left side. Hence, I took a back seat at that moment.
Q. Speaking of Athul, this is his rookie season and he’s impressed in every game that he’s played so far. Do you think that you have found a future gem?
E Bhaskaran: Definitely. This is the first opportunity that’s he has gotten to play with us and he has exceeded our expectations. He’ll soon be an excellent raider and a great partner for Ajay. To play at this level, you need to have a great mindset. He has the height, the build and the skills to be a top player in this league. Once, he’s there mentally as well, he will be unstoppable.