Pawan Sehrawat led from the front as Bengaluru Bulls’ stand-in captain and scored a Super 10 to take his side to a 35-33 win over U Mumba at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday. At the post-match press conference, Bengaluru Bulls were represented by coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat and Pawan Sehrawat while assistant coach Upendra Singh and captain Fazel Atrachali turned up for U Mumba. Some excerpts are below.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Randhir Singh Sehrawat: This is what vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 has been like. People can lose by the smallest of margins. So one cannot say how any match will finish till the final whistle. The average age of my team is quite low. Quite a few of them are playing their rookie season. Pawan Sehrawat has been made the captain and his age, too, is just 23. Rohit Kumar will return soon but these young boys did really well and I am really happy with their performance.
Q. Pawan, you are leading in Rohit's absence. How are you handling the additional responsibility?
Pawan Sehrawat: Rohit Kumar has been a big influence for the team but in his absence, the coach helps me a lot in leading the team. He told me when I should send Sumit and when I should go to raid. I think we played this match quite intelligently.
Q. Coach, thoughts on Pawan's leadership?
Randhir Singh Sehrawat: In the two matches where Pawan has been the captain, the happiest thing for me is that this is the first time he has been made the captain and he has done so well. I keep telling him that if you even score at 60% of your original rate then it is a big success for the team because he sacrifices 5-6 points every game as a captain. If he was not the captain then he would surely have come back with a bonus three minutes into the contest and also gone for touch points because they were in his reach. However, I feel he decided to play as a captain and gave up on those points which was good to see.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Upendra Singh: The match did not go in our favour in the starting period. We gave up a big lead to Bengaluru Bulls. It was difficult to come back in the time that we had but we did as well as we could have. The pressure that a raider has in such a situation is immense. We had 6-7 on the mat towards the end which meant that it was easier for them to score, while they had 5. When the bonus is not on it becomes difficult for a raider to return points in a raid. The biggest setback was when Abhishek Singh was caught towards the end and they managed a successful raid after that. We just did not have enough time to stage a comeback following that point.
Q. Thoughts on the raiders?
Fazel Atrachali: Our raiders played like they usually do and as did our defence. In the starting period, we didn't do too well in the Do-or-Die raids. We were able to control Pawan Sehrawat in that period, but we were not able to control their other raider. I think the defence took it a little easy after sending Pawan to the bench which was our mistake.
Q. Do you think the defence should have avoided going for the tackles in Do-or-Die raids?
Fazel Atrachali: In kabaddi, even if a raider is coming for a Do-or-Die raid we have to try to tackle him. If it is successful then our team had the advantage, if not then it goes to them. That is how kabaddi is, you can't say you will have 100% success. Sometimes you succeed and other times you don't.