PKL 2019, Match 52: "My words were misinterpreted, wasn't my intention to offend anyone", says Jaipur Pink Panthers coach Srinivas Reddy after tense win over Tamil Thalaivas
Jaipur Pink Panthers won a close encounter against the home side Tamil Thalaivas by a 28-26 margin on Wednesday evening in a fiery game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai as part of Pro Kabaddi 2019.
The match had attained heightened stakes after an exchange of words between the two sides before the match. Jaipur coach Srinivas Reddy's quotes about Tamil Thalaivas having "experienced, aged players who are close to retirement" had sparked a response from Tamil Thalaivas raider Rahul Chaudhari, who had said Jaipur shouldn't get ahead of themselves as they had endured a terrible season last time around.
Speaking at the post-match press conference following his team's win, Reddy chose to diffuse tensions as he opened on a conciliatory note towards his beaten opponents.
"First I want to thank the people of Chennai who created this brilliant atmosphere for the game today. Even though we were playing against the home team they cheered when we played well and applauded us at the end", said Reddy.
"My second congratulations is to Ajay Thakur, one of the best kabaddi players in the world. He has been nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Award from the entire kabaddi fraternity. It's great for our sport and from the whole team of Jaipur Pink Panthers I want to extend our congratulations to him", he added.
When quizzed about the match, Reddy said "We played a very good team at home. I think this was one of the best matches of the tournament. I'm sure for the spectators, it was a treat."
About the escalation of tensions around the match, Reddy said that his quotes were twisted around by the media.
"You guys took one line of what I said and made it seem offensive. The whole episode was not played. My intention was not to hurt anybody's feelings. If it came across the wrong way, I'm sorry about that", he said. "Tamil Thalaivas are a very good team with players who have represented India. So I have a lot of respect for them. My words were misinterpreted, " he added.
Nilesh Salunke proved to be the star for Jaipur with his timely bonus points through which Jaipur kept their noses ahead despite conceding the All Out.
"Definitely those bonus points made a difference. The way my team managed the game was brilliant. I always say that my team has no superstars, perhaps with the exception of Deepak Hooda. But they all play their role to perfection and execute our plans to the fullest. That's why we have been successful", responded Reddy about Salunke's contributions.
This is now the third win for Jaipur this season over a home team after victories over Patna Pirates in Patna and Gujarat Fortunegiants in Ahmedabad.
Captain Deepak Hooda, who was also present at the post-match press conference said this is down to the team's composure on the mat.
"I think our team shows a lot of patience on the mat. I have never seen this team panic. Even if we are in a difficult moment, we manage to keep composed and we are able to play according to the situation. I think that's been our strength this season", said Hooda.
Coach Reddy also chimed in as he said, "Our defense is our strength. If a team's defense is weak, no matter how much the raiders score, it will lose points. Our defense has been very tight this season and it gives all the players some assurance and confidence."