Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Today I found out what pressure feels like, says Rishank Devadiga following Bulls encounter
Sunday was the day Rishank Devadiga was tested to the limit. From playing under the tutelage of Anup Kumar at U Mumba to captaining UP Yoddha in a must-win encounter, the athletic raider has come a long way.
The journey has been far from easy. Up against a determined Bengaluru Bulls, Rishank had to lead the team in the absence of Nitin Tomar who is still recovering from some minor niggles.
To make matters worse, they started the game in the worst possible fashion, going behind by ten points inside the first fifteen minutes.
Rishank realized his team were truly up against the wall. Needing to acquire just a point, UP had to ensure they did not lose the match by more than seven points. They eventually lost the encounter by six thus ensuring their berth in the playoffs. Devadiga revealed that he has rarely felt such pressure since the inception of the league.
"The match was getting away from us, so there was definitely pressure. But we never thought we were out of the game completely since our defenders are good. We knew we could reduce the deficit to under seven," he explained.
Asked if being part of such closely contested matches works against the team's aim to dominate games, Rishank chose to look at the positive side of things. He reckons competitive matches always end up being a blessing in disguise.
"When the matches end up being so close it always helps. We identify our mistakes; we made too many mistakes in defence at the start of the game. Such matches help us improve for the upcoming encounters. Now we have to be ready for the playoffs," he said.
Devadiga though is still getting used to handling pressure on such a scale. With the playoffs beginning from 23rd October, against Bangalore, he got a taste of what playing in a demanding situation feels like.
With 11 super raids to his name, he currently has the most among all raiders in the league. Slowly but steadily, Rishank is getting into his groove and is peaking at just about the right time. UP need him to deliver now more than ever.
"Today I found out what pressure feels like when you're a captain. Nitin Tomar is a great leader and motivates us. He will be back for the playoffs and with his support, we can perform even better," he signed off.