As the volleyball competitions kicked off at the V K K Menon Indoor Stadium on Monday, in Kozhikode, one man was observing every single player and jotting down notes in his mind. The country’s national volley coach, G E Sridharan, was satisfied with what he saw on the volley court.
“The standard of volley was very good on Monday. All teams are playing extremely well, be it Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Punjab. I was very happy with what I saw and the players are all looking very sharp,” the coach told City Express.
With India set to figure in a number of crucial matches over the next12 months, the National Games are crucial for Sridharan. His next Indian team will consist of players who prove their worth inside the V K K Menon Stadium.
“It will be difficult to pick my team. The National Games only sees participation from the top teams in the country and every team is strong here. Most of the teams have also benefited from the Railways players coming into their line-up. But having such a lot of good players to choose from is good for Indian volley.”
Sridharan was also enthused by the support the sport had in Kozhikode.
“The crowd support is amazing! On Tuesday, Kerala was playing at 5 pm, but the stadium was already full by 1 pm. You will find a few other places in India where spikers will find such feverish support,” he said. Not that Sridharan is discovering Kozhikode’s love for volley for the first time. He has played here numerous times as a player, both in the state championships and while representing the place. “Coming back here brings back a lot of good memories to me. I have played in numerous national championships in this city and also represented India as well. But I don’t think it was this stadium though.”