Champions Bengaluru Bulls delighted at homecoming

(From left) Bengaluru Bulls’ captain Rohit Kumar, Mahender Singh, coach Randhir Singh and Pawan Kumar Sehrawat at a press conference in Bengaluru on Friday. DH Photo

As Bengaluru Bulls appeared for their media activities upon homecoming, the excitement all too apparent. Forced out of their home ground -- Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium -- due to disagreements with the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, the Bulls had to play their home games in Nagpur and Pune the last two seasons respectively.

Now back in their home bastion after issues with DYES were sorted out well in time, the defending champions can’t wait to hit the court. “That pain of not playing at home can’t be described,” said an emotional Randhir Singh, the coach, on Friday.

“Last year we played in Pune but we barely got any claps from the audience despite it being designated as our ‘home’ venue. Now we know for next one week, we would be playing at our home, our bastion. I’ve just asked the team to play well and ensure the fans go back home happy. Pawan (Kumar Sehrawat) and Rohit (Kumar) are extremely happy. We were champions last year but it was disappointing that we couldn’t play a single game at home. Finally, we can entertain our home fans.”

When asked if there would be any added pressure given the occasion, star raider Rohit chose to differ. “There’s no pressure but just happiness in the camp. Fans have been waiting to see us perform for two years and I’m sure they’ll be happy seeing us as well. We’ll feed off from their happiness. We didn’t play well in the fourth season but their support was amazing. Win or defeat, their love and support were the same. We’ve played well against Gujarat Fortunegiants (opponents on Saturday) and we are confident of starting on a victorious note.”

The season so far has been a mixed bag for the Bulls, who are facing tough competition to cling on to their crown. Owing to the absence of a third star raider that has increased the pressure on Pawan and Rohit, the Bulls have struggled to impose their might on the opposition. With the defence also being patchy, they’ve only managed six wins against five defeats to lie fifth in the standings.

While they are very much in the race for a knockout berth, the rough edges need to be smoothened and Sehrawat hoped the team steps up their game in the coming weeks.

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