CHENNAI: India’s squash contingent begins a hectic 10 months on tour with a trip to Malaysia for three events (Asian and World team for men and Asian for women) over the next two weeks. All three events will be played in a bio-bubble and coach Harinder Pal Sandhu said he was looking forward to the events.
“We have prepared well in the camp we had at Chennai,” he told this daily. “Some of our boys are already on tour playing in events so that’s the best preparation for big events like this.” For example, Saurav Ghosal, who is already in Malaysia, is in tournament mode, having reached the final of the ongoing Malaysian Open Championships (most members of the rest of the squad will leave Chennai for Malaysia early on Saturday morning). Ghosal’s final is on Saturday.
If seeds are anything to go by, the men should fancy their chances of going all the way as they have been given top billing. But Sandhu isn’t taking it for granted. “I expect all the teams to be equally competitive,” he said. For the men, they will first tackle the challenge of the Asian meet before turning their attention to the world event. Apart from Ghosal, they have the experienced Ramit Tandon and Mahesh Mangaonkar to go with the youth of Velavan Senthilkumar. While the Asian meet is from November 30 to December 4, the world meet is from December 7 to 12.
In the women’s Asian meet, Joshna Chinappa, the World No 12, will lead India’s march. Ranked third in the competition, Chinappa with have Sunayna Kuruvilla, Urwashi Joshi and Aparajitha Balamurukan. While Sandhu’s short-term focus is on the three events, he does concede that all coaches and teams will be looking ahead to both the Commonwealth as well as the Asian Games.
“It could be a case of some of the teams looking at seeing whether the team’s No 4 can possibly emerge as a possible option.” Squad: Men: Saurav Ghosal, Ramit Tandon, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Velavan Senthilkumar. Women: Joshna Chinappa, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Urwashi Joshi, Aparajitha Balamurukan.