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Pro Kabaddi Season 4: ‘Dil se khelo’ was the motto, says Jaipur Pink Panthers coach Balwan Singh

614   //    18 Jul 2016, 13:25 IST
Puneri Paltan Jaipur Pink Panther
Jaipur bounced back from a defeat to beat Puneri Paltans

A loss can not only be painful but it can also ebb away most of the confidence that a team has built up till then in its journey during a tournament. Jaipur Pink Panthers, who were reigning at the top of the table of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Season 4, had shockingly found themselves on the losing side against the bottom-placed Bengal Warriors on Saturday at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

But they needed to quickly recover from it because they had their next assignment in 24 hours. For any team, that is probably the toughest job.

‘Dil se khelo’

What do you do for a turnaround in such a short span of time? You forget about the pressure and try to enjoy the game. That is exactly what the 2014 champions did in their second match of the Kolkata leg on Sunday. Coach Balwan Singh had prepped up the Jaipur boys and told them to play their hearts out when they face the Manjeet Chhillar-led Puneri Paltan.

“Dil se khelo aur apna 100 percent lagado” was the motto for the day which the Jaipur mentor later on revealed to the media. The result was for all to see. The Pink Panthers looked fully charged and far away from the glum picture that they presented on the previous day. With oodles of energy, they simply played their hearts out just like the coach had instructed and were rewarded with a 33-27 victory which further consolidated their second position on the table right behind the defending champions Patna Pirates.

“Defense was rock solid”

It was naturally a happy mood at the press conference. Captain Jasvir Singh could not stop beaming. The star raider, who himself fetched 7 points on the night, effusively praised the defense which had looked weak a day before.

“Today our defense was rock solid and followed coach’s orders perfectly. Yesterday, the defense made a few mistakes which led to the defeat. Our coach had explained what exactly they were and the defenders were sure not to repeat them today. Even our raiders did such a commendable job as well.” he said.

“Abhishek Bachchan also motivated us”

A nice surprise during the media interaction was when the Jaipur team owner and Bollywood superstar Abhishek Bachchan came calling. Abhishek’s presence brought out even bigger smiles from both Balwan Singh and Jasvir Singh.

Seeing him, the team coach could not help but admit that the star had motivated the boys and it paid rich dividends. “Having Abhishek Sir with us today helped a lot. He motivated the entire team and told them, win or lose, just go out and enjoy yourselves. If you show your passion, the result will take care of itself.”

And that surely worked brilliantly. The Kolkata crowd also came in large numbers and vociferously cheered for Jaipur during the match with chants of ‘Jasvir, Jasvir’ reverberating throughout the stadium. The Pink Panthers head confessed that it definitely felt like home and gave them an extra advantage.

“The crowd was cheering for us so much that it felt like we were playing at home. That gave us a bit of an advantage. Of course, because Abhishek Sir was there, the Kolkata kabaddi fans were leaning more towards our team and that helped us immensely. We are very grateful to Sir for this.”

Prodded further if injuries to a few players in the Pune squad made it easier for the former winners, the Dronacharya awardee simply said: “Injuries are a part and parcel of every sport. Haven’t you seen how Cristiano Ronaldo was injured during the Euro final and yet Portugal went on to win? Injuries are definitely not an excuse for any loss.”

With a morale-boosting win, Jasvir and Balwan even conceded that they have their eyes on the prize. When asked if they are aiming to repeat their historic achievement of 2014, both said: “We are here to win. We have only aim – win, win, win.”

That is certainly what they will be targeting when they play their next match. But it will be in Mumbai on July 21 when they take on Dabang Delhi.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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