UP Yoddha coach Jasvir Singh has stated that the fitness standards of the players will be his main focus during the pre-tournament training camp which is likely to be held in June. Jasvir also recalled how injury woes affected their performance in the previous season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
The seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League is scheduled to begin in the month of July and for that, almost all the players are gearing up for the pre-season camps. After the auctions, the 12 teams are settled up in a way and a lot of figuring out needs to be done during the camps. The players and the coaches will try to ensure that they have got the right combination to step on the mat while the support staff will have to decide the captains of the respective teams as well.
However, as far as the UP Yoddha team is concerned, the main focus of the chief coach Jasvir Singh will be on the fitness of the players. UP suffered a lot in the middle of the sixth season last year as their important players Prashanth Rai and Rishank Devadiga sustained injuries. In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, Jasvir said that they have a plan to start the camp on June 1 and also talked about the importance of physical fitness in the three months long tournament.
“Our main focus, from support staff’s point of view, will be on physical fitness. Remaining physically fit will ensure that we minimise the injury issues. We saw last time that some players got injured. Players like Prashanth Rai was not that fit physically and that is why there was an injury. The first focus will be on physical fitness and then we will go for technique and other aspects. The first camp will be on physical fitness. A player should be fit physically so that a player doesn’t get injured during the long season of PKL,” Jasvir told SportsCafe.
UP Yoddha performed well towards the end of the league stage last season and managed to finish third on the Zone B points table thereby qualifying for the playoffs. However, the side which had a very good raiding unit with the trio of Devadiga, Rai, and Shrikant Jadhav, couldn’t do well in the department because of injury concerns. UP’s defence stepped up at the right time and the performance of Nitesh Kumar at the right corner was the reason for their success towards the end to propel them to the third place. Experienced Jeeva Kumar and Narender fared well for the team from Uttar Pradesh and the defence helped them win matches in the last few league encounters.
“Last time in the team that we had a good balance. At first, everyone said, “you have good raiders but the defence is weak.” But, as the series went, our defence played really well apart from the first few games. They performed until the end of the season. But Rishank (Devadiga) and Prashanth (Rai) suffered injuries as we went ahead in the series and this hampered the team from doing well as per the expectations. This hampered the balance of the side also,” the chief coach explained.
“Rishank (Devadiga) had an injury so he was unable to do well in the last season as compared to his achievements before that. We expect Rishank, who is fully fit this year, to do well for the team and for him also. He knew that he didn’t do well last time and is working hard for this year. We have full faith on Monu Goyat that he will do well for the team.”
The Uttar Pradesh-based side will also have the services of Arjun Singh as the other coach but it remains to be seen who is selected as the skipper of the side. It was Devadiga who was entrusted upon with the role in the last season. But, they have also got Monu Goyat in the side for this year who had led Haryana Steelers in the previous edition of the league. Jasvir has clarified that they are yet to decide about the captaincy of the team and the final decision will be taken after a meeting before the start of the seventh edition of the league.
“We have not discussed about the captaincy. One who we will think can do well for the team. We will have a meeting and decide who will lead the side. We have some players whom we can give the responsibility of the captaincy in the team,” Jasvir concluded.