The U.P. Yoddha captain was grateful for the confidence shown by the coaches which enabled the team to reach Qualifier 2.
U.P. Yoddha played some exceptional kabaddi throughout Season 6 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi but ultimately weren’t able to overcome Gujarat Fortunegiants in the second Qualifier as they bowed out of the competition with a 38-31 defeat. Captain Rishank Devadiga, though, was extremely happy with the way the team fought back after having their backs to the wall in the league-stage to make it till Playoffs.
“We had an exceptional season,” said Devadiga while reflecting on the campaign in the post-match press conference, “Even though there were some ups and downs initially, I really want to commend the team for playing some excellent kabaddi. Towards the finishing stages of the campaign, everyone contributed well. I think some credit is due to all the players and also the coaches because the coaches never stopped believing in us. Though some of our raiders were playing with injuries, they were certain that the entire team will be fit and ready to play soon. They had complete confidence in us and we didn’t let them down.”
Talking about the match against Gujarat Fortunegiants, assistant coach Arjun Singh felt that Devadiga’s absence in the second half combined the defence’s initial difficulty in finding a rhythm ended up hurting the team.
“Our raider going out of bounds and the niggle to Rishank Devadiga in the second half made us play on our defence and we struggled a little to get our combination going there,” said Singh, “Not having one of our main raiders on the mat definitely made a difference.”
Devadiga himself was quick to admit that he had higher expectations from himself in this season but expressed delight at how his team made up the difference in his absence.
“I wanted to perform better through this season but unfortunately I couldn’t because of my injury,” conceded Devadiga, “Nonetheless I feel the season has been exceptional for our team. The comeback we made late in the league will serve as a motivation both, for us and other teams in the future who are in similar situations.”
He also had high praise for Right Corner Nitesh Kumar who became the first player to reach 100 tackle points in a season. Kumar, however, remained humble and admitted that he was still to come to terms with this remarkable achievement.
“This season was really exciting for me because I was able to perform so well for my team. I never imagined I would reach 100 tackle points in a season and now that I have, it still feels unbelievable,” he said happily.