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Pro Kabaddi League Season 4: We wanted to avoid injuries and rest key players, says Pirates manager after loss to Titans

Patna Pirates rested six of their key players in the loss against Telugu Titans on Tuesday evening.

Patna Pirates
Patna Pirates lost 25-46 to Telugu Titans on Tuesday night but still remained on top of points table

Telugu Titans continued to produce magic in Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4 and demolished a weakened Patna Pirates side 46-25 in their last game of the league stage. By winning against the defending champions, the Titans ensured that they will finish second on the table and setup a semi-final clash with Jaipur Pink Panthers. A loss by a margin of 21 points, however, did not make much of a difference to Patna Pirates as they still ended up being first on the points table.

Keeping the fitness of key players in mind, Patna rested six of their seven main players, who start usually, including Pardeep Narwal, Rajesh Mondal, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Bajirao Hodage and Kuldeep Singh. Talking about this decision, Patna Pirates manager Kartik Sansanwal, said, “It was an intentional decision to rest key players as we did not want any injuries to happen before the semi-final.”

Momentum can be a big factor and Sansanwal was asked whether a loss as big as this would affect his team’s morale, to which he replied, “Momentum is really important in Pro Kabaddi but so is rest and given the kind of travelling players have to do, it is only natural that their bodies will need to relax. Otherwise, the intensity of the game can get to them and a burnout is likely, something that we definitely want to avoid.”

“Furthermore, we have finished on top of the table despite the loss and that reflects our abilities more than tonight’s performance. Like I said, we could not have risked getting players like Pardeep Narwal or Rajesh Mondal injured, so we decided to rest them,” he added.

Though Patna Pirates have played exceptional kabaddi this season, they have had the tendency to switch off on occasions, which has resulted in a loss. The manager, however, was not worried about that and said fatigue may have a role to play in the same. “I think playing four days on the trot can be really exhausting for players, especially when they are putting in a lot and winning consistently. So I am not worried about these things and them resting will certainly help.

The loss had one silver lining for Patna Pirates in the form of raider Abolfazel, who was handed a rare start in the absence of Pardeep Narwal and delivered by getting nine touch points. Happy about his performance, the manager said, “He was really good on the night and we are really happy with his performance. It gives us a good option for the knockout stages and nothing can be better for a team.”

With Dabang Delhi knocked out of the tournament, Patna are likely to face either U Mumba or Puneri Paltan in the semi-final. Sansanwal said it was irrelevant who there opponent was and they would be looking only to play their best kabaddi and reclaim the title. Patna Pirates will now be seen in action on July 29th in the first semi-final at the Gachibowli Complex in Hyderabad.

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