Manpreet Singh: It was our defence's best performance this season
Gujarat Fortunegiants registered a 45-27 victory over Patna Pirates in their Inter Zone Challenge Week match at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday. Reviewing the fixture in the post-match press conference were coach Manpreet Singh, captain Sunil Kumar and raider Sachin for Gujarat Fortunegiants while coach Ram Mehar Singh fielded questions for Patna Pirates.
Q. How would you define today's performance?
Manpreet Singh: In the entire league so far, the team has performed very well. Both the defence and the raiders. And what we had planned for today's match, that was a 100 per cent success. The raiders worked well and for the defence, I think it was their best match of the league.
Q. Gujarat Fortunegiants lost to Patna Pirates in the final last year. And now you beat them. How does that feel?
Manpreet Singh: It's a part of the game; you win some and you lose some. We won against U Mumba twice earlier in the season and then we lost against them the other day. Sometimes it's a player's luck, sometimes he plays well, and on other days he doesn't. For the past three seasons, you must have noticed how Patna Pirates have upped their game. It's the best team and they have very good players. When we have good days, all our players do well. So the team which works hard, works on their strategy and planning, that team will win. And it's very satisfying when that happens. There's another match still left against Patna Pirates, so I request to see kabaddi as a sport in this league. And stand by your team in wins and losses.
Q. You have qualified for the Playoffs. How satisfied are you with that?
Manpreet Singh: See, whenever you play in the league, the target is to reach the Playoffs. And when you qualify for it, then hope builds up that you can make it through the Eliminator or Qualifier matches, and then the Final. But we'll continue to work hard, the way we have been.
Q. To Sunil, how did you manage to contain a player like Pardeep Narwal?
Sunil Kumar: He is a very good player. He was the best raider of Pro Kabaddi in Season 5. But the coach explained the strategy to us and we worked accordingly. We got immediate success.
Q. Sachin, would you like to comment on your performance?
Sachin: I did whatever the coach asked me to do so that's why my performance was good.
Q. Could you sum up the match for us?
Ram Mehar Singh: Our lead raider didn't fire and the defence erred a bit as well. And when both sides don't deliver, then you have a large margin of loss, which is what happened today.
Q. What happened to Pardeep Narwal? He scored just one point today.
Ram Mehar Singh: Sometimes a player has his day and sometimes the opposition team also plans for it, that they would tackle him in certain situations and so on. But today his main skills were not on display and he was attacking in the wrong places. That caught him out.
Q. Gujarat Fortunegiants' defence is quite good this season. Does this add pressure on the raiders?
Ram Mehar Singh: Their defence, no doubt, played well. But our defence wasn't quite there and when that happens, our raiders come under pressure.
Q. What's the Plan B for Patna Pirates should Pardeep Narwal be unable to score?
Ram Mehar Singh: Plan B and Plan C are both playing together! But if neither Plan A, B or C work, then what can you do? Deepak Narwal was there, he was the 'Plan B' of sorts.
Q. After being unbeaten for the last six games, does this loss dent the team's confidence?
Ram Mehar Singh: With so many games in a season, losses are bound to come. They are a part of the game. We'll win the next match! We thought we'd win this match too but the start itself didn't go our way. Even at half-time, the deficit of 7-8 points wasn't much. We have covered 10-point deficits before and gone on to win the match by 10 points, so that covers a 20-point turnaround. You just need a raider or so to deliver to get back in the game.