Maximising potential and rankings

Former India No 1 Ritwik Bhattacharya calls squash 'physical chess'. Saurav Ghosal, who has taken over the top tag from him in the last five years, has taken big strides in the sport by maximising its rapid element. Cracking the Top 20 in the latest world rankings, Ghosal has maximised the one quality he has in abundance his frenetic pace of play, which has acquired him the reputation of a pocket dynamo (he is barely 5'5" tall) among the tall and well-built practitioners who occupy the top echelons.

Ghosal, whose movements resemble a swiftly scribbled signature, is perhaps unique in a sport dominated by Egyptians who boast a deceptive, rubber-wristed style and Europeans and Australians who, broadly speaking, push the limits of endurance. And he offers inspiration to Indian squash players to aim higher, as the top-ranked Asian, at a time when traditional powerhouses Pakistan are struggling to even produce a Top-50 player.

Ghosal has hung in there, all the time propping up his technical and tactical nous, and reached a point from where he can take off and challenge the biggies of the sport. Ghosal's speed is often termed world-class, and provides him with that fractional advantage in points where margins aren't huge. His pacy strides help him reach the ball earlier, make up for the fewer number of lateral steps his opponents might take from the T while still hitting harder, keeping him in contention for every point. His speed effectively means that he picks up everything and when he can combine that retrieving ability with a tactical keenness he has developed over the years, he has shown he can challenge higher-ranked players. Finally, his quick-thinking brain and infectious energy are a self-sustaining source of motivation that can help him reach the bigger goals quicker. The top 16 is the promised land in squash, which will earn him more direct main draw entries. From there, the possibilities are immense for this busy, buzzing player.

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