Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018: Indian defenders accused of biting Iran captain Amirhossein Mohammad Maleki
Despite their overwhelming win in the Kabaddi Masters final, a few questions lingered over India's victory, Iran captain Amirhossein Mohammad Maleki felt that the world champions played a bit too rough at the Al Wasl Sports Club in Dubai, on Saturday.
Maleki, along with star defender Hadi Tajik had to be substituted off the mat after they sustained injuries in a match that was controlled by the Indians.
"We could all see what was happening out there. Throughout the match, the Indian players were tackling rough in defence. Some of our players even got hurt badly," said Iran coach Gholamreza Mazandarani. "I thought Kabaddi is supposed to be a sport where you play fair."
Maleki, who had injured his hand after he was brought down by the Indian defenders in the second half of the match, even went on to accuse the Indian players of biting him.
"Even after the referee blew his whistle, the Indian defenders kept on tackling. Somebody even bit me when I was raiding," he said, before claiming that some of the Indian defenders should have been shown a card for their actions.
India coach Srinivas Reddy, however, rebutted these claims, saying that it was merely the excitement of the final, due to which the Indian players were bringing out their aggression on the mat.
"I wouldn't call it rough play. Our players were aggressive on the mat. Kabaddi is a body-contact sport. There's no fun if there's no contact in this sport. This was the last game in Dubai, and we had to give our best. That's why my boys showed a lot of aggression," said Reddy. "See, the raiders were always trying to cross the centre-line. So until the raider stops, our defenders had to be on them till the referee blew the whistle."
India captain Ajay Thakur, on the other hand, defended his players, saying that they could not hear the referee's whistle.
"There was so much noise all around that sometimes, you can't even hear the whistle. We're all into the game, and there's so much noise that sometimes its just not audible," said Thakur. "We were all concentrating on putting in the tackles and bringing them down."
Despite these accusations, no such actions were taken against the Indian players, who went on to win the match by a comfortable 44-26 margin.
However, while both Tajik and Maleki were injured during the game, coach Gholamreza confirmed that these were not major injuries and that they will be available for selection ahead of the Asian Games.