Ahead of the 80th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships, which commences at DPS Hall on the eve of Christmas (December 25), Manav Thakkar's inclusion could work wonders for PSPB to lift the trophy.
Manav, however, is not the sole reason for Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) claiming the favourites tag. Jeet Chandra, Parth Virmani and Siddesh Pandey are in fine form to play their role to see the top-seeded squad reach the top-of-podium finish. Manav had assisted the side win both Junior and Youth titles in the last edition at Durgapur, besides helping himself to three individual crowns.
This time around, Manav is eligible to compete only in the Youth section. This, in turn, would hamper PSPB in the Junior Boys. They now have a new set of players, led by Anukram Jain, Sameer Pandey, Satyamgiri Gupta and Aditya Jain. It will all boil down to how they manage their inexperience and play freely.
On the other hand, PSPB's Youth Girls squad will sorely miss the services of Archana Girish Kamath. She had to withdraw at the last minute due to a leg niggle.
PSPB girls are expected to face a tough challenge from West Bengal. The latter have a well-oiled squad comprising of Surbhi Patwari, Poymontee Baisya and Kaushani Nath, an experienced lot, with additional support from Premangi Ghosh.
It would be interesting to see who takes up the challenge and pressure in the Junior Boys' section. With Manav's restricted role, PSPB can only think of the title if their boys come to their own amidst inexperience.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega