Coach Srinivas Reddy on Saturday hit out at his Iranian counterpart’s allegation that India played “unfair”, saying kabaddi is meant to be a tackle sport and it’s no carrom.
With India leading by a slender seven points at the break, Ajay Thakur and Co hit the top gear after the change over.
In a fierce move, Rishank Devadiga tackled the Iran captain Amir Hossein Maleki, who complained that he was “bitten”.
But referee dismissed the allegations and kept the match on with India stretching a 35-19 lead before sealing the issue 44-26.
“We played with aggression. It’s a body contact game, it’s not carrom. Kabaddi is a tackle sport and is played like this. This was our last game in Dubai and we had to give our best,” Reddy told the post-match news conference.
Reddy also hailed the overwhelming response from the crowd who queued up in the scorching afternoon sun at the Al Wasl Sports Complex to cheer India.
“It was amazing. I could not believe my eyes… It seemed we played in India,” he said.
“Our ultimate aim is to win the Asian Games in Indonesia in August-September. This will put us in the right stead. We will have a break for a week or so before we assemble for India camp. We will now have to start from zero,” Reddy, who won the title in his maiden assignment as coach, said.
Iran coach Gholamreza Mazandarani claimed that both the coach and players “played unfair”.
“Also the referees did not call any fouls. It was a good experience for me and the new players.”
Sounding a warning bell, the coach said they would put up a transformed show in the Asian Games as they would have their full team for Indonesia.
“It was a young side here. But we will be different in Jakarta,” Mazandarani said.
Iran opted to give rest to big-name players like Meraj Sheykh, Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mohajermighani for the six-nation meet.