Haryana Steelers put in a clinical display against Patna Pirates to walk away with a 39-34 victory at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday. At the post-match press conference, coach Rakesh Kumar, Vikash Kandola and Prashanth Kumar Rai took questions for Haryana Steelers while Patna Pirates were represented by Pardeep Narwal and coach Ram Mehar Singh. Some excerpts are below.
Q. Coach, you have a foot in the playoffs now. How important was this match in your journey ahead?
Rakesh Kumar: We did not want to be complacent. Even if we lost two points today and got a tie it would not have done. This win was necessary for us. The only thing I told the team was to not concede multi-point raids. We made that mistake earlier and then I took a time-out and told the team to focus on this aspect. The team played well after that and paid heed to my words. Vikash, Prashanth Rai, and the defence, all played well.
Q. What us the update in Dharmaraj Cheralathan?
Rakesh Kumar: He is not really injured. He just had a slight muscle pull. He wanted to come back in this match but I refused because we are in a good position and we will require his experience going forward. Since it is a small injury it is best to let it recover. It is only because of my prompting that he did not play. Otherwise he is completely fit.
Q. What was your thought-process when your team conceded four points in one raid?
Vikash Kandola: We did make an error in judgement but immediately after that Prashanth Rai got two points in his next raid and the match came back into our hands. The defence played well too. Two of our raiders were on the mat so we knew we were in a good position.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Ram Mehar Singh: I think there were certain places which could have been the turning points of the match, where the match was coming our way, but the defence made some errors during those times. That is the reason, I believe, we lost this match.
Q. Pardeep, same question to you.
Pardeep Narwal: If one department does so well and we play out of our skins, but still have to settle for a loss, it is obvious that it will hurt.