"My role as captain is to be a friend to the players" - Bengaluru Torpedoes skipper Ranjit Singh ahead of Prime Volleyball League 2022

Former India captain Ranjit Singh will be leading the Bengaluru Torpedoes in the Prime Volleyball League
Former India captain Ranjit Singh will be leading the Bengaluru Torpedoes in the Prime Volleyball League

Bengaluru's thirst to celebrate its own volleyball franchise will be quenched starting February 5th, 2022, when the the Ranjit Singh-led Bengaluru Torpedoes step onto the court for the Prime Volleyball League season opener against the Kochi Blue Spikers.

The Torpedoes squad wears a balanced look with a good mix of youth and experience that should hold them in good stead to put up a challenge against the Spikers. In Ranjit, Rohit P and Pankaj Sharma, the Torpedoes have their share of experienced stars, while the side's young-blood brigade from Karnataka will also look to make a name for themselves with commanding performances.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda facilitated by SONY, Torpedoes skipper Ranjit shared his thoughts on the squad's balance, his role as captain and leading life in the bio-bubble.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you see the team facing early on in the Prime Volleyball League?

The challenge is that we're playing the first match of the season against the Kochi Blue Spikers. It will be important for us to win, because if we win, it will help boost our morale. Winning the first game is all of our focus at this point.

Q. What do you make of the Bengaluru Torpedoes team combination for this PVL season? In your view, what is the team's X-factor?

The combination is a good mix of youth and experience. The game is fast, so both youth and experience matters a lot. I feel the bench strength is particularly good, all 14 players can bring their skills to the fore.

Compared to other teams, our main strength is bench strength. The players who will be on the benches are also capable enough and using their skills will be beneficial for us.

Q. The team has a Karnataka coach and there are quite a few players from the same state in the team. How will this chemistry between coach and players benefit the team?

The Karnataka guys play as a team plus we have two foreign players as well. This is a team game, not an individual one so nothing is impossible if one approaches an individual game. The coaching staff is very friendly, overall I feel the team bonding and understanding is very important, and is in a good place right now.

Q. Fans from Bengaluru are often regarded as one of the most loyal fan bases. How much will you miss their presence on the mat?

Without fans, it's not fun to play but because of the Covid regulations, they will be missed in the stadium. Fans' support always matters because when they shout and erupt we get a feeling from inside to perform a lot more, so we will definitely miss them a lot.

Q. You will play a dual role this season as captain apart from taking up a very important position as the setter. How are you looking at this responsibility?

I have led the Indian team, and I have played for the national team for a long time now. My role as captain is to be like a friend to the players and keep them in good spirits. When youngsters face a tough opponent, they should not be demotivated and instead they should be given a boost ahead of the game. I feel I am doing a good job on that front. It is very important to give them confidence and utilize their skills well on the court.

As far as the setter goes, I am also the playmaker, so I will need to keep an eye on who to pass to and make the most of their strengths. I have a massive role as a captain and a setter.

Q. How has the team warmed up to the rules of the Prime Volleyball League, and thoughts on the team's bonding so far?

We have players who have experience having played the game before. During our 20-day preparation camp in Mysuru, our training was as per the Prime Volleyball League rules so we have learnt a lot. In terms of how to take the Super Point, landing the ace and all the other pointers as well. The foreign players also mingle well with us, they are excited to play in this Indian league with the new pattern. The whole squad is adjusting well to form a positive team atmosphere.

Q. After two years of staying at home, how hard is it to stay inside the bio-bubble? What are some challenges of remaining physically fit in these Covid times?

We are facing these bio-bubble restrictions for the first time, so it is new for all of us. Most importantly, we need to keep away from contracting Covid. We really don't have any other option other than staying inside the bubble.

We have a trainer who helps us a lot by conducting exercise and training sessions on video calls so that we can do it in our rooms. It is difficult but people have stayed at home for two years, we know our fitness levels and so we know what to focus on. Everyone is serious about hygiene and there's no one who is really too flustered about staying inside their rooms.

Watch RuPay Prime Volleyball League 2022 LIVE on SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi), SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) & SONY TEN 2 (Malayalam) channels from 5th February 2022.

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Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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