Some late heroics from Naveen went in vain as Jaipur Pink Panthers held their nerves in the final moments of the match against Haryana Steelers to score their first win of the season. In the post-match press conference, Nitin Rawal, captain Anup Kumar and coach Srinivas Reddy took questions for Jaipur Pink Panthers while Naveen and coach Rambir Singh Khokhar were present for Haryana Steelers.
Jaipur Pink Panthers
Q: Do you think your overall performance was much better than your last game?
Srinivas Reddy: Yes, definitely. We discussed the errors that we made in the last five minutes of the previous game and we trained to ensure that we don’t repeat them. And this match was a result of the work we put in.
Q: Do you think you getting the All-Out was the turning point of the match?
Anup Kumar: Getting both players out on the same raid was crucial because if you leave one guy on the mat, you have to surrender a bonus point to them on their raid to lure them deep into your side. That’s how we ended up giving up three points to Naveen and that four-point raid towards the end made the game close. Otherwise, I felt the team played quite well throughout the match. I didn’t feel like there was any turning point. Nitin Rawal played well. Deepak Hooda got us points as well. Overall, it was a good team performance.
Q: Today you got another star raider in Nitin Rawal. You now have three top raiders in Deepak Hooda, Selvamani K and Nitin. Do you take the decision of picking your side on a match-by-match basis or do you already have your best seven in your mind?
Srinivas Reddy: I take it on a match-by-match basis. We assess the opponent, their strengths, their weaknesses and everything in between before picking our raiders and defenders. It’s a long season and we have to plan for every game differently. So, it depends on the opponent. Earlier I did say that Nitin is one of the best all-rounders I have ever seen among the younger generations. I have observed him closely for three months and I can tell you that the sky is the limit for him. He needs to stay calm and focused and he’ll be a big name in Indian kabaddi.
Q: The team has lost three successive games. Do you think you are lacking somewhere?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: All teams are playing well. Naveen has been playing outstandingly well. Our corners are inexperienced, and I feel that we could have done better there. But we will do well in the next game. Our raiders were doing well but there was something missing in our defence.
Q: Naveen has been playing outstandingly well despite his inexperience. As we saw today, he singlehandedly kept you in the game. What do you have to say about him?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: Naveen is an outstanding young player and that is why we have picked him. He has come in as a replacement for Surender Nada but has performed so well. I am very proud of him.
Q: Is Monu Goyat facing pressure due to captaincy?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: Monu’s confidence isn’t low. He hasn’t been able to practice as much as the others in the team. If he doesn’t score in two games, he is the kind of player who will cover up in the next two games. I don’t believe that he is lacking confidence. I also don’t believe that he is being pressurized due to captaincy.
Q: Will you have a new strategy for the next game?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: We have a new strategy every game. Everyone knows that all teams make new strategies for each game. Even today we tried something different and it didn’t work out. We don’t have two of our most experienced players, so it will take time to put these strategies into play.