We did not play to the level as we should have and that is the reason we could not qualify for the playoffs.
Getting knocked out of a tournament is the last thing any sportsperson wants. But unfortunately the UTT journey has ended for us. My team, Puneri Paltan, fought till the last and I think that is the best approach to have irrespective of the result. I am proud of the way the team fought all the way.
For me, this season of the UTT has been a great experience and I have learnt a lot of things. One of which is that one should keep trying and never give up.
Our season began really well but we struggled to find the right combination in the mixed doubles and lost a few matches that we could have turned around and won. Towards the later stages of this tournament, we did find the right combination, with a few mixed doubles games going our way. We did not play to the level as we should have and that is the reason we could not qualify for the playoffs.
Looking back, I just wanted to keep playing well but that did not happen in the matches towards the end. In the first two matches, my performance was good against Tiago Apolonia and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. Post those games, I lost to Sanil Shetty, Manav Thakkar and Amalraj Anthony all of whom played really well. They were better than me and I couldn’t execute my natural game and that is probably the reason for my losses.
There are times when luck does not favour you and the other team comes up with a really good performance as what happened in our last tie, which we lost 4-11 to Goa Challengers. No matter what, we plan to stay in a positive frame of mind and hope to bounce back in the next season.
Playing this tournament has been a good experience for me. Being part of Puneri Paltan has been amazing and I really hope I get picked for the next season and take my team into the semi-finals. I am confident that we will emerge stronger.
Captaining the team for two years has been an amazing experience. Apart from myself, Ayhika Mukherjee and the rest of the team members were in good form before the season began. We gave our best but unfortunately fell short of expectations. Ups and downs happen in sports but what is important is to learn from it and keep going. Though our campaign did not go as expected, our aim is to keep working hard and do much better the next time.
(BVK Sports and Media)
(Harmeet Desai is the captain of Puneri Paltan in UTT)