by Mervin LR
Last year runner-up NLIU Boys’ Basketball team taking aim at 1st-place finish at this edition of Virudhaka 2019.
That feeling of being so close and knowing the roster is chalk full of talent serves as the necessary motivation for the NLIU boys basketball team.
Basketball, which is considered one of the major attractions in Virudhaka, also bears an atmosphere of seriousness from its athletes, sans an enthusiastic crowd.
With only one day to go for Virudhaka XI, the NLIU, Bhopal campus has been abuzz with practice sessions by various sports teams. Pranav Pareek, the captain of the Boys’ Basketball Team and a fifth-year student, claims to have the team well geared up to perform and aim to go one better than last year’s performance.
“I think we’ve got some unsettled business,” said captain Pranav, who began playing the sport since 10th standard. “Really, this is a great group of boys and we’re really focused. We’re really just going to take it one game at a time and keep improving every day.”
“Last year, we finished runners-up. We played quite a good game against Army Institute of Law, but hard luck in the final as you know the cliché – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”
“It was not really an one-sided game rather it was a close encounter. We lost by only 2-points. Doing better than last year would mean that we finally get what we believe we deserve,” he said.
Pranav hails from Jaipur, Rajasthan, and has been playing basketball for the last seven years. He mentions LeBron James as his primary inspiration.
“I have been playing since I was in my 10th standard and it has always been fun. My inspiration is LeBron James. I played various teams in Jaipur. I had played 3 or 4 years in Jaipur then I joined law school and since then I have been playing here.”
The NLIU basketball team has a wide spread of members, with most of them being the seniors. The captain mentions that quite a few of their players are state and national level players, and have the required skill to do well in the competition.
“Having the same team as we had last year gives us the advantage to conquer even more than we already have. There was no final year student in the last year tournament and only one new addition that is Rahul, who will be a shooter for us.”
The team’s most explosive players, though, is Himanshu Bisht and Prabhav Bhauguna, who has attended Junior India Camp.
“I used to play as point guard initially at my college. But nowadays, I am playing as forward and shooting guard. This time most probably, I will be playing in the forward position as we have good amount of shooter at our disposal. Himanshu Bisht is one of our key players. We will be looking to make an offensive combination from the get-go,” said Pranav.
According to the captain, the team is aiming for nothing short of glory this Virudhaka 2019. Though the team could only secure second place last Virudhaka, but in the hard lessons learned of finishing second, the team want to expand their horizons beyond the semifinal.
“Experience at Virudhaka last year will be a huge asset,” said Pranav. “We’re looking to build off that and we’ve got some unsettled business. Myself, Himanshu Bisht and Prabhav Bhauguna will on the frontline while Rahul and Daniel at the back. But we’ve got to keep improving, getting our guard play a little more involved and we’ll see where we can take it.”
When asked which team they speculate to pose tough competition in the tournament, Pranav was quick to reply that, ‘All the Nationals Law College team are very good, however Army Institute of Law are our main rival.
Basketball in Virudhaka is something the most cheered and look forwarded sport which also has been the showdown event in the sports fest. “We have lot of responsibilities. All the colleges will be looking to beat the home team and get their names noticed. On our good day, we can beat anyone – we are as good,” added Pranav.
I think the boys know what they’re capable of. We just have to put ourselves in a position to make that game run like we did last year and we’ll be alright,” he concluded.
It is evident that the next couple of weeks are going to be challenging for the team. One hopes that their efforts pay off.