“Fans are expecting quite a lot from our side this season as we have got marquee players and former captains in Jasvir Singh, Sukesh Hegde and Manjeet Chhillar. They all are well experienced on the mat. The supporters want us to put on a good display and fulfilling their expectations is our duty,” said Ajay Thakur through an email interaction with DT Next.
The Thalaivas’ backroom staff has undergone a revamp for the upcoming edition, with Edachery Bhaskaran replacing Kasinathan Baskaran at the helm. Naveen Kumar will be second in command to the former U Mumba head coach.
Speaking about what the newly-appointed coach brings to the table, the Indian team captain remarked, “We have known Edachery for a while now because he was Team India’s coach for two years. We have played a lot under him and have an excellent bonding with him. He has the experience and knowledge to ably guide our team. Don’t forget, he took U Mumba to the final on three occasions. The players need to listen to what the coach says and train accordingly. Edachery is an excellent mentor and shares a great rapport with the team.”
Thalaivas managed to collect only six wins from its 22 matches in its inaugural edition, missing out on a ‘Super Playoffs’ spot by a huge margin. But, the skipper is eyeing a top three finish in the zone table, which will propel the team to the next round.
“The preparation has been going extremely well and it’s always good to have senior players during such sessions. Their experience and guidance will help our young players perform well on the mat. We expect to take our team at least to the semi-finals and nothing less this year,” Thakur was optimistic.