Jaipur: Top Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal, the country's best hope in the Asian Cup Table Tennis Championship which will be held here from March 13 to 15, feels that heat in the pink city will be a crucial factor in the performance of players taking part in the tournament.
World number 49 Sharath Kamal, who is just back from Germany where he plays for Borussia Dusseldorf, said that plastic balls and heat in Jaipur will make the game faster.
"Heat would be factor because we play mostly in Europe where there is much colder and humid too. Here it is hot and friction on the table will be less making the game faster. The plastic balls too would add to this because there is less spin and as a result more bounce off the table," said Sharath Kamal who has been doing well in leagues abroad.
"Plastic balls have been in use for quite some time in Europe and we have adjusted to them. Conditions are different here. But it's not a big deal to adjust with it," he said.
Talking about the strong field in the Asian Cup, Sharath Kamal felt he does have a chance here.
"I had finished sixth in the previous edition of the tournament and I had beaten players ranked much higher in ranking. Asians dominate in this sport and the field here is much stronger. But I feel table tennis world has come closer and on the given day any one can beat anybody," he said.
Asked about the challenge from the Chinese and their dominance on world stage, Sharath Kamal said, "They (Chinese) have their own standards. I feel they are at least 4-5 levels ahead of us. Sometimes it becomes monotonous but ITTF has been finding ways to have something for others, like they have limited participation in Olympics to two players from a country so that at least a bronze medal goes somewhere else."
Asked about the controversy when the Table Tennis Federation of India ignored him for the Asian Cup, he said, "I feel the issue was blown out of proportion. One of my club teammates got injured and I had to take his place otherwise the four member team would have been thrown out. I decided to give more importance to the quarterfinal of the league and had to skip the nationals. But there is no hard feeling."