Team Speaks: Basketball


The 51st Inter IIT Sports Meet to be held at Kanpur is just a few days away. Teams at IIT Madras are sweating it out day and night in order to make training drills and tactics part of their muscle and memory. T5E in this series of article brings some of the inside news from all the institute teams. In this first article of the series, Aneesh Salelkar presents snippets from his interview with the Men’s and women’s basketball team

At the 50th Inter IIT Sports Meet held in Bombay, the boys were knocked out in the quarter-finals whereas the girls beat IIT Delhi in the finals to be crowned winners. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Note: The credits for the photographs in this article go to Swapnika and the Sports Organizing Committee. We thank the media club for their support!

The boys in action
The boys in action
  • How have your practice sessions been over the semester and how many hours a day do you practice during the main camp?

B: Our practice throughout the semester was a big success and there was a lot that we learnt over the sessions conducted every evening. Our coach being very motivated is always involved in giving us tips and telling us where we are lacking. During the main camp, there is no academic pressure on the team other than placements for the final years, so we manage to rake up more than 5 hours of practice split into morning and evening sessions.

G: We are really happy that we’ve had practice sessions throughout the semester and the whole team has been attending them regularly. Our main camp practice consists of a morning session that starts at 6:15 am whereas our evening sessions begin at 6:15 pm each going on for a duration of 2.5 hours each.

  • How many Inter IIT freshies do you have on the team and who are the significant players in the squad?

B: We have 6 Inter IIT freshies in our team, most of them were part of the IIT Madras B team last year. Their effort and devotion towards the game are the main reasons they made it into the Inter IIT team. Every team has a few players they heavily depend on, for us they are:

  • Amar Kalgi(Centre)
  • Akshay Deuri(Point Guard)
  • Rajshekhar Vannalwar(Small Forward)
  • Sagar Joshi(Power Forward)
  • Rohith Reddy Sanaga(Shooting Guard)

G: This year we have more Inter IIT Freshies than players from last years’ squad. Due to a  number of passouts, only two members of our team (Nithila and Deepa) were part of the team last year.The key players of our team are:

  • Nithila Kumaran
  • Deepa Elizabeth Eapen
  • Shruti Agarwal
  • What is your main camp training routine like?

B and G: Generally each session of practice starts with us warming up followed by a few fitness drills in order to develop our speed and stamina. We then move on to two-man, three-man, four-man and finally five-man passes. Board tapping and lay-up with three man passing is also regularly practiced. For the main camp in the mornings we usually play man to man in half of the court brushing up different tactics our coach has taught us while in the evening we play a match amongst ourselves eventually ending our session with a practice of free throws.

  • What aspects of the games has the team majorly improved in during the past semester of practice?

B: Keeping regular training sessions helped us bond as a team and greatly improved our team chemistry. Our coach identified places where we lacked and made us sweat it out till we got our basics right. Overall, we greatly improved on our dribbling skills, sense of game, passing and movement as a team. An improvement in these areas of the game has been a major morale booster for us and now we are very confident that we can smoothly convert defense into attack within no time.

G: The whole team has been learning and improving on a daily basis.Our main areas of focus have been to develop our shooting skills to improve our conversions and increase our fitness level. We have also started stretching religiously, this has helped us lower the chances of catching an injury as well as getting cramps on court.

Reaching the hoop!
  • Who are your major competitors at the Inter IIT Games and what is the realistic target you are going into the games with?

B: The calling off of the Inter IIT Games at our campus last year meant a two year gap between the last Inter IIT Meet and the current one. Just like any other sport, each contingent would have a number of freshies/graduates we would not know about thus making it harder for us to judge a team’s potential. Making fair assumptions, we feel that Roorkee, Bombay and Kharagpur would be our main competitors. We have obviously set our sights on gold, but realistically our aim is to settle for nothing less than silver.

G: We draw Bombay and Jodhpur in the group stages, assuming that Jodhpur has a weak team, we must beat Bombay in the groups in order to have an easy path to the semis or we must beat Roorkee in the quarters. Kanpur and Kharagpur are our major competitors this year. Being the defending champions our prime aim is to reach the semis finals first and then try our best to assure ourselves of a medal.                

The girls team during the camp
The girls team during the camp

With the amount of effort put in by the teams, we expect nothing short of a medal (gold, to be optimistic) from them. We wish them all the very best and hope they bring back glory to IIT Madras.

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