Indian Volley League has opened many doors for young players
Many were sceptical about the prospects of the Indian Volley League (IVL) 2011, as it came close on the heels of the high profile Indian Premier League.
Now, with the IVL nearing conclusion, even its detractors will have to admit that the newcomer has made more than a splash on the sporting scene. For players of the game, it has become a fine platform to showcase their skills.
“The IVL began with the Maratha Warriors calling the shots, spearheaded by Gutikonda Pradeep,” said former international Venu Madhav, who has closely tracked the actionall along. “As skipper and middle blocker, the former South Central Railway player steered his squad to the top in the first leg,” noted Madhav.
Even the pundits were not prepared for such a showing by the Pune-based side, which however faded out in the subsequent legs. What handicapped it severely was the sidelining with injury of the seasoned Gurchand Singh who had captained the Indian team which won bronze at the Asia Cup 2010 at Uromieh, Iran.
Chennai Spikers finished second and Yanam Tigers, third, differentiated by a .03 score quotient. The competition was tough, with no clear favourite, the day's performance more often deciding the issue.
The second leg at Chennai was won by Chennai Spikers WITH things swinging their way only on the last day.
They stayed at the top in Yanam too, while the Hyderabad Chargers were a consistent second, both at Chennai and Yanam.
The young Lavmeet Katariya has been the find of the IVL. His prowess as a middle blocker has been a revelation and it won't be long before the unemployed youngster from Rajasthan is quickly picked up by the talent spotters.
"Other youngsters waiting in the wings to grab the spotlight are Vikram, John Christopher,Tennarasan, Deepesh and Rohit," observed Venu Madhav. The selectors will have a tough task on their hands when they sit to pick the national squad for the World Junior Volleyball Championships at Rio, Brazil from August 1 to 10. The team will be coached by M.H. Kumara.
The role of libero has been played to near perfection by energetic youth such as Chennai Spikers' Kanagaraj, Kiran Phillip of the Kerala Killers and Vinod Negi of Hyderabad Chargers.
“Propping up the ball for Lavmeet is a pleasure, because we can be assured of a point,” said Kasi Viwanadha Raju, setter of the Hyderabad Chargers. Prabhakaran of Chennai Spikers and Vikram of Karnataka Bulls also made their presence felt with their incisive hits from the side.