Ashan explains how he managed turnaround of epic proportions

The messiah of the southern side, Ashan, in a virtual interaction with DT Next on Tuesday, spoke about Thalaivas’ roaring comeback, the team’s purple patch, mood in the camp and more.
Under Ashan Kumar, Tamil Thalaivas is unbeaten in five matches
Under Ashan Kumar, Tamil Thalaivas is unbeaten in five matches

CHENNAI: Everything that new Tamil Thalaivas head coach Ashan Kumar has touched has turned to gold in the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League Season 9. Ashan, who is occupying the chair vacated by ex-chief coach J Udaya Kumar, has masterminded a turnaround of epic proportions in a matter of two weeks. In just five matches under the legendary Ashan, the Tamil Nadu team, which was considered by many as a bottom-dweller in the early stages of the season, has transformed into a play-off contender. Currently on a five-game unbeaten streak – four victories and one tie – Thalaivas has 33 points in its kitty from 11 matches, just five points behind table-topper Puneri Paltan. The messiah of the southern side, Ashan, in a virtual interaction with DT Next on Tuesday, spoke about Thalaivas’ roaring comeback, the team’s purple patch, mood in the camp and more.

On changing the fortunes of Tamil Thalaivas in just a few matchesI knew very well that our team was not up to standard before I joined. When I came here, I knew everything about the players, their game and situations they were in. I tried to motivate the players and boost their morale. I did everything to raise the morale of the players. They are no longer psychologically down. All our players have improved their technique and body language. From my side, I gave some tips.

EXCERPTS

On not making drastic changes to the ‘Starting Seven’ but managing a stunning turnaround

J Udaya Kumar is my friend, but I do not know what happened (went wrong) when he was here. We have talented players in our team. After I came in, I tried to motivate the players. I focussed on the technique of each and every player. Together, we worked meticulously on our tactics. If the players are fine psychologically, they will perform well on the mat.

On Puneri Paltan head coach BC Ramesh attributing the recent success of Thalaivas to the strong bond between players

In our match against Puneri [on Sunday], we played as one. We played with coordination. That is why we won (the scoreline was 35-34). Overall, our team has improved in both offence and defence [in the last five matches]. I am happy that our team is working well. Hopefully, we continue to do well in the upcoming matches.

On the mood in the camp

The coaches, staff and players are delighted with our form. We are fresh. We are not under any sort of pressure. I have told the players: “Do not put pressure on yourselves. Do your job. Naturally, the performances will go up a notch.”

On ensuring complacency does not set in

Our players will not be overconfident in the coming matches. We will continue to play our game. We will be calm and sensible. We will approach every match with a clear strategy. We will play for a win every single time. That is the target.

On raider Narender, who has set the Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 alight

Narender is a youngster. This is his first season in Pro Kabaddi. I have told him: “Do not think that this is your maiden season in the League and that you are new to the team. You concentrate on your game. If you get tackled, do not worry. Rectify the mistakes in your next raid and pick up points.” He is calm. Hopefully, in the future, he becomes a big player.

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