May 13, 2014

Team India head to Nepal for 3rd South Asian Basketball Championship

Under Head Coach Scott Flemming, Team India has ambitions to keep rising up the basketball ranks at the Asian level. To do that, they must first prove that they are still the top team in their own region. India will be among five teams competing in the 3rd South Asian Basketball Championship, organized by the South Asian Basketball Association (SABA), and set to be held in Kathmandu (Nepal) from Tuesday, May 13th to Saturday, May 17th.

A victory for India in the championship will confirm their qualification for the Asia Cup, set to be held in Wuhan (China) in mid-July.

This is the first time that Nepal will be hosting an international basketball tournament of this stature. The championship was earlier scheduled from 24 April to 28 April 2014 and was postponed due to technical reasons.

The history of the SABA Championship has been erratic: the first edition was hosted by India in Assam back in 2002, and the host country emerged as winners with a win over Bangladesh in the Final. India didn't take part in the 2nd edition of the tournament which was held last January, and was won by hosts Bangladesh.

This year, the competing teams are India, hosts Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. India's presence in the tournament immediately labels as them favourites to win the tournament.

India's final 12-man roster for this tournament:
  • Joginder Singh
  • Akilan Akil
  • Vishesh Bhriguvanshi
  • Narender Kumar Grewal
  • Vinay Kaushik
  • Prakash Mishra
  • Pratham Singh
  • Ranbir Singh
  • Yadwinder Singh
  • Amjyot Singh Gill
  • Rikin Pethani
  • Amrit Pal Singh
  • Head Coach: Scott Flemming
Here is India's schedule at the SABA Championship:
  • March 14 - 5 PM: India vs. Bangladesh.
  • March 15 - 2 PM: India vs. Sri Lanka.
  • March 16 - 2 PM: India vs. Nepal.
  • March 17 - 11 AM: India vs. Maldives.
India will be dealing with their two most-likely toughest opponents - Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - in the first two games, and if they can get big wins in the first two days, they should be able to comfortably close out the match-ups against Nepal and the Maldives.

To prepare for the tournament, Team India spent several weeks at training camp at the Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Center in Greater Noida where the shape of this team began to take shape. This is set to be the first international challenge for India since their gold medal triumph at the Lusofonia Games in Goa in February. India will be relying top players like Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Amrit Pal Singh, Yadwinder Singh, Pratham Singh, Amjyot Singh, and Joginder Singh to come up bit for the SABA championship. New faces like Tamil Nadu point guard Akilan Akil and Punjab's Ranbir Singh should boost up India's guard play. India should be able to take care of business and prove that continuity under Coach Flemming - who has been at the helm for almost two years now - will improve the team's understanding among each other. India's top players have said that the team is a lot more unselfish now and have truly accept a 'team first' philosophy under the American Head Coach. Hopefully this will translate to more efficient play on court, and eventually, a first-place finish.

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