Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018: 'India are far ahead of Pakistan,' says PKL star coach Manpreet Singh
The Kabaddi Masters tournament kicked with a bang in Dubai, as India and Iran came off with comprehensive wins against Pakistan and South Korea, respectively. In fact, the matches, which were expected to be close, turned out to be one-sided affairs on the contrary.
While the match between India and Pakistan was expected to be a closer affair, the 2016 World Cup champions ran away with a 16-point victory, as Pakistan fluffed their lines.
Sportskeeda caught up with Manpreet Singh, who coached Gujarat Fortunegiants to the Pro Kabaddi League final last season, after the matches at the Al Wasl Sports Complex in Dubai, and discussed the various tactics that helped the Indians and the Iranians earn these massive victories.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with him.
Q: What are your thoughts on the match, which turned out to be a bit one-sided in the end?
A: Whenever there’s an India-Pakistan match, the level of interest automatically rises. All the people who love kabaddi have come from long distances to watch the match. But this game wasn’t as good as we expected it to be.
From what I saw, India are far ahead of Pakistan at the moment. Pakistan have to work very hard even if they want to keep India at bay till half time.
Q: Where do you think India won it against Pakistan?
A: India have terrific balance in their team. Their defenders are as good as their raiders. But Pakistan’s raiders were off their game. Most of their points were scored by their defence.
If they want to match-up to India, they need to score more points on the raids as well. Their raiders need to score at least 50 per cent of the points in the match. Otherwise, they won’t stand a chance against the stronger teams.
Q: Why do you think a prolific raider like Pardeep was not as effective against Pakistan?
A: Nowadays, due to the popularity of the Pro Kabaddi League, all the teams study India’s top players before coming to any international tournament. Pardeep, of course, is one of our best raiders. So they made their strategies on him.
They had clearly done their homework on both Pardeep and Rahul (Chaudhari) as well. But their defence did not do that well against Ajay (Thakur) or Rohit (Kumar). I don’t think they worked on Ajay at all.
But India have so many options in their raiding department. Three top-class raiders were basically warming the benches. Monu Goyat and Rishank Devadiga basically warmed the bench, Sandeep Narwal barely got any chances, Deepak Niwas Hooda went on just one raid in the entire match. Hence, Pakistan need to put in a lot of work, in order to stop the Indian raiders.
Q: The Indian defenders had a good day against Pakistan's raiders. What are the key areas that the Indian defence succeeded in?
A: India has one of the best defences as well. The combination of Mohit (Chhillar) and Surender Nada worked wonders against Pakistan. Surjeet got touched a few times by the Pakistani raiders, but that is bound to happen, as he is one of the players who will try to tackle to opposition players. He is still a wall in India’s defence.
Players like Sandeep and Girish (Maruti Ernak) were also warming the benches. Those two can also combine very well in defence.
Q: Iran have sent their second string squad to Dubai this time. What do you make of this Iran side, after watching their performance against South Korea?
A: Iran haven’t sent some of their best guys – Fazel Atrachali, Abozar Mighani, Meraj Sheykh have all missed out. But even their second team are playing exceptionally well.
They are young, they are confident, and they ran amuck against Korea. I feel that their defence is brilliant. Apart from (Jang Kun) Lee, no other raider was able to match up to their standards. Their raiders have also done well, but the defence is top-class.