Why aren't India winning by bigger margins at Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023? 

Team India have three wins under their belt at the moment
Team India have three wins under their belt at the moment

India's Asian Kabaddi Championships 2023 campaign has gotten off to quite a formidable start. The team has won three matches on the trot, putting away any opposition that has stood in its path.

Their scores read 13-76, 19-53, and 17-62 against South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan, respectively. In comparison, some other results in the tournament are: Chinese Taipei winning 117-12 against Hong Kong, Iran winning 72-17 against South Korea, and Japan winning 85-11 against Hong Kong.

Now, the question arises - Are these the margins all that India can win by in a tournament where Chinese Taipei are pocketing a 105-point win? Why are the Indians not going all out and playing to their full potential?

For the answer to that question, let's travel back a few weeks. India were one of the first nations to announce their team. They held rigorous trials with close to 30 probables and selected their full-strength team.

The Men in Blue were to be coached by Ashan Kumar and Sanjeev Baliyan, two of the most successful coaches in the last edition of the Pro Kabaddi League.

In contrast, teams like Iran and South Korea decided to rest their best players and sent a second-string team for the tournament. These teams hardly have any experience and are filled with youngsters. All this is to keep their main players fit for the Asian Games later this year.

Now, if we were to make a conjecture, it would be that the Indian selectors were perhaps not aware of this trend. Perhaps, they would have sent a younger side with the likes of Narender, Bharat, Ankush, and Jai Bhagwan if they knew that heavyweights like Iran and South Korea won't be at full strength.

The opponents have been no match for India so far, which might continue till the last whistle of the finals. Their raiders hardly get tackled, their defenders are quite literally gifted points by opposition raiders. So much so that the Indian team plays with a touch of lazy elegance. Those who have taken the mat against them just aren't good enough to give them a run for their money.

So, instead of adopting an all-out approach, the Indian team is pretty content with accumulating the points initially and then playing largely on do-or-die raids. This was exhibited in their match against Japan.

Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023 won't serve as adequate preparation for Asian Games

India came into the tournament with the intention of not only defending their title but also treating this as practise for the Asian Games. However, they have just not been challenged enough.

The games just aren't stimulating enough for the team, and the intention with which they had come into the tournament will perhaps not be fulfilled. The Asian Games won't see them in such comfortable and cozy situations.

Going back to our initial question then - Why aren't India getting bigger wins? Well, it's perhaps because they just don't find it giving them dividends. They just aren't put in situations which challenge them.

In a video having gone viral previously, a cheetah was to participate in a race against dogs, where the cheetah opts to not run since it does not find the race worthy enough.

Perhaps India's situation is similar in the tournament. Although they can win by margins much bigger than this, they don't have anything to prove and aren't going full throttle.

Team India are taking each match seriously at Asian Kabaddi Championship 2023

However, it is pleasing to see the attitude of the players on the mat, who are not taking any games lightly and respecting their opponents. Despite winning, the team is not being overconfident or making fun of the situation their opponents are in.

This is reminiscent of Anup Kumar's advice to a young Puneri Paltan side in their game against U Mumba, where the Pune side was winning comfortably. While speaking to the players, Anup had asked them to not laugh at the opposition.

So, in conclusion, Team India certainly has the ability to get much bigger wins under their belt. But taking all matters into consideration, they will be pretty satisfied with how their campaign has panned out thus far and will be eyeing the trophy in this edition as well.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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