India wary of Korea in Kabaddi Masters Dubai
Dubai, Jun 21 (PTI) With Iran sending a second-string side, India today picked Korea as one of the strong challengers in the six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai, which gets underway here tomorrow.
The 2016 World Cup finalists Iran will not get the services of their two star defenders, Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba) and Abozar Mighani (Telugu Titans), who were sold for Rs 1 crore and Rs 76 lakh respectively in the Pro Kabaddi League auctions this year.
2017 Asian Championships runners-up Pakistan, on the other hand, are mired in visa hurdles and they will arrive tomorrow morning, about 12 hours before their clash against India in the tournament opener at the Al Wasl Sports Club.
India's experienced defender Manjeet Chillar today said Korea would pose a tough challenge.
"They have a strong set of players and are coming here with a full-strength side. Iran have not sent their full strength side. It will be a tough battle against Korea," Chillar told reporters at the team hotel here.
Asked how big a threat is Pakistan, he said: "I don't remember when they defeated us. At least not during my playing days."
The six-nation tournament feature India, Iran, Pakistan and Korea along with newcomers Kenya and Argentina and this tournament will give the four continental teams a perfect dress rehearsal for the Asian Games in August in Indonesia.
Coach Srinivas Reddy indirectly criticised Iran's decision of not sending their full strength side.
"If you don't sit in the exams how would you know your strengths and weaknesses. They (Iran) want to hide their strengths before the Asian Games but we have come here with full strength," Reddy, who will coach the senior team for the first time said.
"We want to assess our strengths and weaknesses so that we know what should be our strategy for the Asian Games," he said.
Reddy, however, said they are not taking any team for granted.
"Any team can match anyone on a given day. All the teams will pose tough challenges."
Ajay Thakur will lead Indian challenge after the exclusion of former Indian captain Anup Kumar, one of the biggest names in Kabaddi.
Talking about the decision, the 40-year-old from Telangana said, "In cricket, Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from the team did not bring the sport in India to a standstill. You had someone like Virat Kohli taking over the responsibility. The sport is always more important than the players. It's like the flow of water," the coach signed off with a smile