Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018: 'It was not Pardeep Narwal's day,' says India coach Srinivas Reddy after Pakistan game
There was hardly any surprise on the first day of the Kabaddi Masters championship in Dubai as India ran away with a comfortable 36-20 win over their arch-rivals Pakistan. However, it was the performance of their star raider Pardeep Narwal, that baffled one and all.
The 21-year-old, who scored 369 raid points in the Pro Kabaddi League last season, could not match-up to the expectations as he failed to get a single point against Pakistan at the Al Wasl Sports Complex in Dubai on Friday.
While Pardeep made the starting seven for India in the crunch match against Pakistan, the Patna Pirates man was soon taken off by coach Srinivas Reddy. After the match, Reddy went on to explain his tactical thought process behind the move.
"We have a deep squad. All our 14 players are top class. So when I saw that Pardeep was not doing that well, I immediately subbed him. I brought in Rohit because he is a clever raider. He takes his time and moves inside," Reddy said to the media after the crunch match.
He further went on to explain that the Pakistan defenders managed to corner Pardeep, negating his special move -- the Dubki.
"They caught him in the corners a few times. That put him under some pressure, psychologically. That's why I subbed him out because this was not his day," said Reddy.
"If I keep sending him out on raid after raid in such situations, he will also lose his confidence. I have other options on the bench. It's better to use that instead. He will definitely do better in the next match," he further said.
India captain Ajay Thakur, who was on-form for his country again, with 10 points to his name felt that such situations could also increase the risk or Pardeep getting injured.
"In such situations, when the raider is getting caught, again and again, the chances of getting an injury also increase. So we did not want to take that risk," said the India captain.
Despite Pardeep's poor form, Srinivas Reddy felt that it was India's raiding department that won them the match in the end.
"I feel that our raiders were really well tonight. Pakistan's defence was great as well, but our offence took the cake," said Reddy. "In the beginning, they were playing really well. It was all even at the start. But then as the match wore on, our raiders also stepped up to the plate and got the points."
He signed off by claiming that India's raiders were far better than the ones their arch rivals had. "Pakistan also played well, but I would say that our raiders are better than Pakistan's. That's the main difference between the two teams," he signed off.
With this win, India now move to the top of Group A in the Kabaddi Masters. They are not set to face off against minnows Kenya in their next encounter on Saturday, before a rest day. The three sides will face off against each other twice before the semifinals get underway. It will be interesting to see what changes Pakistan make ahead of their second encounter against India on Monday, June 25.