PVL 2022: Bengaluru Torpedoes ready to dig deep, says captain Ranjit Singh

The Prime Volleyball League is like an exposure tour for Indian players and a platform to develop their skills, says India setter Ranjit.

Ranjit Singh, captain of Bengaluru Torpedoes. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Bengaluru Torpedoes captain Ranjit Singh has set his target on the team’s opening fixture against Kochi Blue Spikers on Tuesday in the Rupay Prime Volleyball League 2022 (PVL).

“We have been training since January 12 and are ready to dig deep in PVL,” Ranjit told Sportstar.

“The players are fit and focused on our first match against Kochi Blue Spikers. Some of the Kochi players have played with me in the Indian team, so we are planning based on their strengths and weaknesses. We need to win our first match to boost the team’s confidence and morale,” Ranjit said.

Ranjit, who hails from Tarn Taran district in Punjab, comes from a middle-class upbringing and was a good student. His brother saw his potential and persuaded him to take up volleyball as a career. He started learning volleyball in Jalandhar sports school in the ninth standard.

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It wasn’t until 2007 that he was selected for the coaching camp for the Indian youth team. “There were 300-400 players who had come for the youth trials. I was among the 36 players, who got selected for a coaching camp for the Indian youth team. In 2008, I got a chance to represent the team in the Youth Asian Championship.”

Like other volleyball players, Ranjit, too, dreamt of donning the senior India jersey. In 2012, he got selected to the senior team and two years later he was picked to lead the team for the Asian Cup. To his dismay, India lost to South Korea in the finals 23-25, 21-25, 25-27. “When I received the captaincy for the Asian Cup, it was a big challenge to unite the players and converse with them. Iran and China had a lot of exposure and were formidable opponents. At that time, we didn’t have much infrastructure or exposure. We were able to get a silver medal despite all these factors, so it was a huge deal for us then.”

A defeat that pains

One match that the 193cm tall setter still regrets is India’s loss to Japan in the 2014 Asian Games quarterfinals.

“We lost to the runner-up Japan in the quarterfinals (India was in fifth place at that Games). That was when the team was at its lowest. On a positive note, I was happy that with the little infrastructure and the exposure we had, I was able to lead the team to perform very well in the Asian Cup and Asian Games. I do regret the loss. If we had won in the quarterfinal match, we would have guaranteed a medal - there was a big chance, but we let it slip away.”

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Emphasising the volleyball exposure and infrastructure provided to youngsters these days with the advent of PVL, the 30-year-old said, “During our time, the matches played, and the exposure to the game was less. Teams like Japan, China, USA and Brazil got to play several practice matches before tournaments. It would have been helpful if we had been given such an opportunity to play PVL at that time. PVL is like an exposure tour, where we also learn from the foreign players and a platform for players to develop their skills.”

Having played more than 50 matches for the senior India team, Ranjit believes young players should focus and set their goals without using shortcuts. “If you set your heart on becoming an India team player and work for it without expecting immediate or instant results, you will succeed. I come from a village without much facility or infrastructure. If I can become a member of the Indian team, so can you.”

Bengaluru Torpedoes will take on Kochi Blue Spikers on February 8, Tuesday at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.

Watch Bengaluru Torpedoes vs Kochi Blue Spikers – LIVE on SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi), SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) & SONY TEN 2 (Malayalam) channels at 6:50 pm IST on 8th February 2022

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