Monday, May 27, 2024

Canary Wharf: Willstrop tips Ghosal and Pallikal to lead Indian surge


Saurav Ghosal in action

James Willstrop, the world No. 2 squash player, believes that Indian squash is “buzzing” after two good performances in recent weeks.

Top seed Saurav Ghosal won the Windy City Open at the weekend to secure one of the biggest wins of his PSA career, while India came close to pulling off a remarkable win at the under-21 World Cup in Chennai earlier this month. They lost to Egypt in the final, but attendances over the week left Indian officials with many positives as to the sport’s potential.

Willstrop, who became world No. 1 in January after winning the PSA Masters in Delhi, said: “If Saurav and Dipika Pallikal can succeed, then I predict that squash will be massive in India.

“We saw recently at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai when Dipika won her match what could happen if the sport is taken to the people.

“India is certainly one of those countries where the sport is buzzing right now. It just needs that little extra to take it to the next level.

“It all depends on the structure of the next generation of players but the appetite seems to be there.”

Willstrop this week launched his new book — A Shot and a Ghost: a year in the brutal world of professional squash — a part diary, part autobiography where he reveals the darker side to constant touring, as well as the highs such as winning silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

There are mentions for Ghosal in the book too, with the Leeds-based Indian No 1 a regular training partner with Willstrop at Pontefract Squash Club in Yorkshire.

“He is one of the quickest players on tour,” Willstrop said of Ghosal. “He looks fast as he is smaller in stature than most tour pros. But his little steps make him entertaining to watch. He is lightning quick.

“His racket work has improved immeasurably. He just needs to transfer it to match play and he could change the dynamics of Indian squash.

“But he has time on his side and he can definitely develop. He is a great training partner when we get the time to practise and an all-round nice guy. He deserves his latest success in Chicago that’s for sure.”

Willstrop is drawn to meet Ghosal in the first round of the Canary Wharf Classic on March 20.

Next week, in the Davenport North American Open, Ghosal meets Canadian Shahier Razik in the first round at the Westwood Club in Richmond.

For more on James Willstrop, visit his official website


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