Dubai, June 22: India coach Srinivas Reddy on Thursday took a dig at Iran for not sending their top players in the six-nation inaugural Kabaddi Masters tournament, starting here from Friday.
Iran sprung a few surprises by not including Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani, who were bagged by Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) franchises U Mumba and Telegu Titans for Rs 1 crore and Rs 76 lakh respectively, in the auctions held in Mumbai.
Besides the duo, Iran also omitted Meraj Sheiykh from their squad.
While the Kabaddi Masters tournament is pipped to provide an excellent opportunity for the Asian countries like India, Pakistan, South Korea and Iran to fine tune their skills before the Asian Games in Jakarta in August, Reddy smelt a conspiracy of Iran not willing to reveal their strength before the Asiad.
“Iran sent their second string team to get some exposure. The thing is they don’t want to share their strength before Asian Games. This is their strategy. But for us, we want out players to give their best shot,” Reddy told reporters here on Thursday.
“For example, if you appear in an exam then only you can know your capacity. But if you have fear of exam or hide from it then how will you achieve your result? Based on the outcome, you do your homework and correct your mistakes which ultimately will help in reaping good results.
“We came here with our best team and we will use all our players,” he added.
The coach who is also a former India player termed this nine-day tournament as their pre-final for the Asian Games.
“It’s a pre-final for the Asian Games. Since 1990 we are the champions in the Asian Games, so this time also we will going to rock the prestigious meet in Jakarta,” he said.
India are clubbed along side Pakistan and Kenya in Group A while Group B consists of Iran, South Korea and Argentina.
The teams in each group play two matches against every other team in their respective group, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the semi-finals.
Star raider Ajay Thakur, under whom India start as favourites for Friday’s tournament opener against arch rivals Pakistan, cautioned his team of the opposition’s defence.
“Pakistan’s main strength is their defence but we have both strong defence as well as offence,” he said.
“We have already played Pakistan many times. But yes there will be some pressure because you never dare to take these matches lightly as you are representing you country at the end,” he added.
Besides Thakur, India will pin their hopes on their brilliant raiders in Rahul Chaudhari, Pardeep Narwal, Rohit Kumar, Rishank Devadiga and Monu Goyat.
In Deepak Hooda, Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada and Girish Ernak, India also boast of top-class all-rounders and defenders to lend a perfect balance to the side.