Hyderabad Black Hawks principal owner Abhishek Reddy named experienced ‘setter’ Vipul Kumar as the captain of the team in the Rupay Prime Volleyball League commencing at the Gachibowli Stadium here from February 5.

“We have the country's two top-ranked setters (the other being V. Hari Haran). And, not surprisingly, we have to look at our strength, and that is the reason why we named Vipul to lead the team’s challenge,” Abhishek Reddy, principal owner of the Hawks said during a virtual media interaction on Tuesday.

“Since Vipul will be involved in most of the action on the court and because of his role would interact with the coach more often, we thought he would be the best candidate to lead the team,” he said.

The Hyderabad Blacks owner also said that during the league, many former internationals from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would be invited to watch the games, and they would be honoured in a fitting manner.

For his part, Vipul felt grateful to the owners and also excited to be the captain of the team as it meant a huge responsibility with a lot of challenges.

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“The team has been gelling together really well during the 15-day training sessions. It is my responsibility as a senior player to

convey the coach, and the team management’s decisions taken with the specific objective of improving the team’s performances to every member of the team to ensure there is no misunderstanding on any issue,” he said. “The biggest challenge, of course, will be to take the young talent along with us,” he added.

On the first match for Black Hawks against Kochi on February 5, Vipul said they were in the process of formulating strategies, and they would be keen to take the League match-by-match.

Head coach Ruben Wolochin of Argentina felt that Vipul being the most experienced player among the group would inspire the younger players to keep working hard.

“We are grateful to the organisers for ensuring the best possible training facilities and that the team was willing to do the right things for the desired results with a good attitude and fighting qualities,” Ruben said.

Assistant coach Tom Joseph said Vipul was the best choice and that to make the entire team play as a unit could be the biggest challenge for the captain.

“Yes, it is some sort of a blind game in terms of strategic preparations. We are focussed on how well our players perform, express their abilities as we are doing a lot of video analysis and head-to-head reviews to improve as fast as possible,” Ruben chipped in.

On the 15-point format in the PVL, the Hawks head coach felt the players had to be prepared mentally for this, which also meant changing the approach, thinking every single moment. “We have to adapt as quickly as possible,” he said.