U.P. Yoddha defeated home team Haryana Steelers 37-30 in the opening match at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Saturday. Shrikant Jadhav scored a Super 10, while skipper Nitesh Kumar returned with a High 5 for U.P. Yoddha. At the post-match press conference, coach Rakesh Kumar and skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan took questions for Haryana Steelers, while U.P. Yoddha were represented by coach Jasveer Singh, Nitesh and Shrikant.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Rakesh Kumar: Most of the errors happened in defence. The biggest mistake I feel was going for an advanced tackle on Shrikant Jadhav when they were on the verge of an All-Out. The match could have tilted in our favour. But we missed out on the opportunity to come back in the match when it was provided to us.
Q. Thoughts on the performance of the defence?
Rakesh Kumar: I don’t know why the defence was avoiding their raiders so much in the starting period. Had they not avoided them, I’m sure some tackles could have been missed but a lot of them might have been successful. I think that was where we made an error. Avoiding tackles in the beginning put the defence under pressure and that caused more slip-ups. I think after halftime the match could have turned in our favour. The advanced tackle on Shrikant when they had just two left on the mat really made the difference.
Q. Thoughts on Vinay and Ravi Kumar’s performances?
Rakesh Kumar: Look, I’m unhappy with the entire team. Of course, they performed well for the team, but it is important that everyone performs at a high level. Ravi and Vinay played well but if the entire team had supported them then the result of the match could have been different. Anyway, we will improve on the mistakes we made here in the coming matches. We had hoped to start our home leg with a victory, but we will learn from this and I hope we can find success in our home leg going forward.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Jasveer Singh: With our home leg coming up, we were hoping to gather some momentum. We are close to sealing out spot in the top 6 now so this victory was very important for us. Our plan was to win this match come what may and the team delivered.
Q. How does it feel to have performed so well for the team?
Shrikant Jadhav: We just execute what the coach tells us to do. The coach and the captain have told me to play freely because if I play well, then the team is more confident as well. I hope this streak continues and we keep doing well in our upcoming matches as well.
Q. Is there any pressure as the team’s leading raider?
Shrikant Jadhav: The coach and the team have never let me feel any pressure. The coach has told me to play to the best of my ability. I think the captain too has taken the pressure upon himself instead of letting it come to me.