Infrastructure is decent, tournaments are okay but the biggest disappointment is the lack of international squash events in the country. That’s what Saurav Ghosal, the world No 24, said talking of various aspects of the sport. Saurav, who became the first to emerge as the junior National champion for three years in a row, said in a chat with this newspaper that he has set his eyes on taking Indian squash to higher levels as also to improve his personal ranking. Excerpts...
On growth of squash in India
Squash in India has grown considerably last decade, especially in the last 3-4 years. This spurt has been brought about by players doing really well in the junior and professional tournaments all over the world. Players have to continue producing top-class results and take Indian squash to the next level.
On the infrastructure for squash in the country
The infrastructure available is decent but very sporadic in different parts of the country. We need to build more world-class facilities in the major cities. Also, getting squash into schools is an absolute must. Squash needs to target the kids when they are young and getting into schools is the best way to do that.
On the requirement for more tournaments
There are a decent number of domestic events, but a few more are always welcome! However, the biggest disappointment is the lack of international events in the country. For instance, there wasn’t even one PSA or one WISPA event in India in 2012. That is surprising considering we have some really good men and women players who are trying to make it big at the professional level.
On the need of making squash more popular
Like I said, the players need to keep producing results. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success! The administrators need to get squash into schools and make it more accessible to the common man. Also, getting squash on TV would be a big step forward. We need to find ways to get the sports channels interested in squash. I think when people watch squash on TV, they will realise how good a sport it is and that it would definitely help the sport in a big way.
On the need of improvement in all areas
The process of funding to players from the government needs to be made more simple. Right now, it is far too complicated. A detailed plan for introducing better infrastructure needs to be made and implemented properly. The Sports Ministry and the national federation need to work together and work on the infrastructure. I also think someone needs to sell the sport well. It needs a few passionate people to market the sport and give the players the recognition we deserve.
On his next assignment at the international level
My next event on the PSA is the Tournament of Champions in New York, starting on January 19.
On his future plans
I’m No 22 in the world at the moment. I really want to make it to top 10 and then push towards the top 5. Once I’m in the top 5 for a decent period of time, I think I could give myself a good shot at the No 1 spot! Winning the individual and Team Gold medal at the Asian Games next year would be great.