A masterclass from U.P. Yoddha’s raiding trio of Shrikant Jadhav, Rishank Devadiga and Surender Gill saw their team beat Jaipur Pink Panthers by a scoreline of 38-32 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Monday. At the post-match press conference, U.P. Yoddha coach Jasveer Singh, skipper Nitesh Kumar and raiders Devadiga and Jadhav took questions for their side, while coach Srinivas Reddy and captain Deepak Niwas Hooda represented Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Q. Five wins on the bounce. Thoughts?
Jasveer Singh: Happy with the results, but I was happy earlier as well. I had belief in the team even when we were losing. The performances were there to see but injuries to our key players was the difference between winning and losing at that point in time. I knew once we had our big guns back, we would easily make up any lost ground.
Q. Also, the team is back in the top six. What has been the key to the recent upturn in form?
Jasveer Singh: When you win a couple of games in a row, you have to make the momentum count and that is what we did. There is visible improvement with every passing game. We were lingering towards the foot of the table and to enter the top six from that position is extremely gratifying. But we need to maintain this level to ensure we remain there.
Q. Thoughts on Rishank Devadiga and Shrikant Jadhav’s performance?
Jasveer Singh: Shrikant has been brilliant throughout the season. Rishank was nursing injuries earlier in the season but has returned to full fitness and is playing some outstanding kabaddi. When you play well, your confidence improves and subsequently, the performance does as well.
Q. The win was a team effort rather than a solo effort. Thoughts on that?
Jasveer Singh: Kabaddi is a team sport. When everyone contributes and does their job well, it is obviously a good sign. When one of our raiders was out, the other two were successful in reviving him or keeping the scoreboard ticking. It was a good all-round effort from the team.
Jaipur Pink Panthers
Q. Thoughts on the result?
Srinivas Reddy: The result is obviously disappointing. We did not play to our potential, especially in defence. We gave away too many multi-point raids. And that was probably why we lost.
Q. What do you feel the team needs to qualify for the playoffs?
Srinivas Reddy: Every game is a do-or-die situation for us. We have to win all of our games to qualify for the playoffs.
Q. Thoughts on the raiding unit?
Srinivas Reddy: Deepak Hooda was a silver lining for us today. Sushil Gulia, too, contributed some points from the opposite flank. So, I’m happy with the raiding unit’s performance.
Q. What is the cause of the loss in form of the team?
Srinivas Reddy: The defenders that were successfully scoring points earlier in the campaign are struggling to replicate that. That has been our downfall.