JAKARTA (Indonesia) – Vishesh Bhriguvanshi has played in five Asia Cups, making him one of the most experienced players in the India national team. In July, it’ll be his sixth appearance in the premiere competition in Asia & Oceania and he can’t wait.

“We are very excited to come and play at the Asia Cup because the Asia Cup is always the biggest [competition] so everyone wants to play.”

 

Excitement is certainly in the air. The reason for Bhriguvanshi’s enthusiasm is simple. India have gone through fire and water to arrive at the Asia Cup, making it through the Qualifying Tournament for Third Ranked Teams.

“We are very excited to come and play at the Asia Cup because the Asia Cup is always the biggest [competition] so everyone wants to play. Everyone wants to win, so we are also focusing on that,” said the India basketball star in a recent interview with PERBASI.

Everyone wants to win, but only one of the 16 participating teams can emerge as champions. India are one of the teams in the running, but their path towards the further stages looks a bit challenging after being drawn into Group D – which some have labeled the “Group of Death” – along with Philippines, Lebanon, and New Zealand.

“It’s going to be very hard for us,” Bhriguvanshi admitted. “But right now we’ve played against New Zealand and Philippines in the World Cup Qualifiers, so we are gaining experience from each game.”

Tough as the road maybe, Bhriguvanshi and India are ready to do their best. As mentioned, Bhriguvashi has been to this dance five times already. He knows what it will take to succeed.

“Definitely it will be tough to play but we have to play and compete. If you want to win anything, if you want to win medals, you have to compete and you have to give your all out. We’re just focusing that win at least one or two games in the group stage so that we can go further and do something better.”

If India manages to survive the competition in the “Group of Death”, it’s not as if the games will get any easier. There are good teams left and right in the entire competition, something that Bhriguvanshi is well aware of.

“I guess Australia is one of the best teams in Asia Cup because you just saw that in the Tokyo Olympics they got the bronze medal, so you can already understand how strong they are,” Bhriguvanshi said. “After that, there’s New Zealand, Iran, China, Korea, so there are a lot of strong teams.”

On these strong teams will be strong players and Bhriguvashi anticipates to go up against the best of the best in the region.

“There are so many players who are going to come play in the Asia Cup because the teams will bring their best. Definitely, it will be good to play against each of them.”

Aside from the usual contenders, the India basketball veteran pointed out another squad he expects to perform in Jakarta – the home team.

“Indonesia are hosts and have been preparing for the last 2-3 years for this so, definitely, Indonesia are also going to be one of the strong teams over there.”

Aside from emphasizing preparation as a strength for Indonesia, Bhriguvanshi pointed out the advantage of Indonesia having the home crowd behind their backs.

“It will be difficult for other teams to compete with such a crowd cheering for [Indonesia], it’ll be tough to play,” he said.

Bhriguvanshi also recalled the last time he played in Jakarta which was for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

“When I was there that time, the venue in Jakarta was filled and I can imagine how it’s going to be this time.”

With less than 3 months to go to the FIBA Asia Cup 2022, which will be played from 12-24 July, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi is ready.

“We are very excited to come to Jakarta, Indonesia for this Asia Cup,” said Bhriguvashi. “Our preparations are going very well. We are focusing more on the practice and games.”

“Let’s hope for the best and we’re ready to be there in Jakarta.”

FIBA

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