New Delhi: With eyes firmly set on this year’s Commonwealth Games, India’s ace squash player Saurav Ghosal has decided to cut down on international tournaments to remain injury-free before the October 3-14 quadrennial event here.
Ghosal said he has become selective with his choice of tournaments as he does not want to risk an injury by featuring in every PSA event.
“I do not want to take any chances with my fitness or my body before the Commonwealth Games. I am trying to keep my mind as fresh as possible before the Games. I do not want to risk myself by getting injured,” Ghosal told reporters.
“I am not that kind of guy who plays in each and every tournament. I have become more selective now. I don’t want to experiment with myself at this stage and just want to be as focused as possible,” the world ranked 27th player said.
“Next week, I will be participating in a tournament in Egypt and that will be mine last before the Commonwealth test event in June. After that, I won’t be playing in June and July and would be engaged in rigorous training schedule.
“In August, there are two PSA events in Australia and Hong Kong in which I would be participating. In September, there is a PSA event in England which I am not sure about and then in October, you have the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. I would be featuring in only 3-4 events before the Games,” Ghosal added.
Talking about his recent good showing in the PSA events at home, where he had defeated higher ranked rivals, including world number 13 Adrian Grant of England, the UK-based Indian squash player said it was the result of the hardwork he had put in under legendary Malcolm Willstrop’s guidance.
“When you perform at the international level, you have to be at the top of your game. I am featuring in some big matches now-a-days and that is helping me in improving my game. In Leeds, I trained myself really hard over the last few months.
“I got myself injured in February this year and was not able to play for the whole month. It took a toll on me to get back into the shape. I did things which I had never done before. I was initially slow after recovering but then I worked hard to maintain my current world ranking. Now after beating some tough opponents, my confidence is at all time high,” Ghosal said.
“My training with coach Malcom Willstrop for five years was absolutely amazing. That is bearing fruits to a greater extent now. I am fully devoted towards my game and this is my job now,” the 24-year-old added.
Aiming to break into top-20 of the world squash ranking by the year end, Ghosal said, “Good performances in upcoming PSA tournaments and Commonwealth Games will play a major role in deciding my ranking chart.
“Top 20 by this year and than top 15 and top 10.”
Asked about compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya’s continuous drop in the world ranking (from career best 38 to career low 113), Ghosal said age was playing a big factor in his performances.
“He was injury-prone last year and did not play in many tournaments. So definitely his ranking has taken a hit. He has turned 30 and it’s not easy for the body to take the toll. Squash is such a fast paced game. All I can say is that time is not by his side,” he said.
“I hope he’ll perform well in the Commonwealth Games. It’s not that he is playing bad, but he just needs to regain his confidence. He has done the sport a world of good,” Ghosal said.
Ghosal also voted in favour of squash’s inclusion in the Olympics, saying, “the game is definitely good enough to get an entry into the Olympics. It’s a deserving sport.”