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Vishesh Bhriguvanshi goes out in wheelchair but ends up with No.1 India rank

India bowed out of the 3*3 Asia Cup despite a valiant effort as they lost their captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi early in a group-stage match.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi goes out in wheelchair but ends up with No.1 India rank

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi is the top-ranked 3*3 basketball player from India (FIBA)


Kevin Somani

Updated: 26 July 2022 11:38 AM GMT

After a shaky start against Palestine, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi made sure to drive India till the qualifying stages of the FIBA 3*3 Asia Cup. In the next two games, he took the driver's seat and was in the top-5 scorers for the tournament. Till one moment of pain ended his campaign.

After a bad landing after missing a shot during the first pool game against Korea, Vishesh was taken out of the arena in a wheelchair. The Indian team played the rest of the match without him and even though they lost after a valiant fight, they held up Bhriguvanshi's jersey in a touching gesture at the end of the match.

Even though the team exited the Asia Cup without him, Vishesh ended up being the no.1 ranked player nationally.

Vishesh's face after the injury made it clear that this was not a small injury and that his recovery might take some time to recover. And his importance to the team is not unknown to anyone. Bhriguvanshi was part of the announced roster for the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta too. He was a key cog in a totally overhauled young team alongside the fast-rising Muin Bek Hafeez and veteran Amritpal Singh.

During the post-game conference of India's game against Lebanon, coach Veselin Matic also emphasised the importance of the Arjuna awardee in the locker room. Not just with his individual contributions, Bhriguvanshi's presence also helped to make everyone else around him play better, he said.

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"Till that moment, he didn't miss any game and gave us stability - when we have to do something offensively, defensively or when we need to connect the people together - which is actually the most important factor."

Matic also highlighted how his passing was a key factor in Amritpal Singh's game on the low post.

"Without Vishesh, it's very difficult for him to play because most of the balls were coming from Vishesh to Amritpal."

Singh and Bhriguvanshi both have a long history of playing together, both in the 3x3 and 5x5 formats of the game. Both were part of Ahmedabad Wingers in 3BL last season, both are in the ONGC and in the Indian National Team.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi has been donning the Cagers jersey since 2006. His resume speaks for itself. Whenever there happens to be an Indian Basketball Hall Of Fame, Bhriguvanshi will surely be in the pantheon. He had told The Bridge during the senior nationals this year: "India has a lot of new and young talented players right now and with them, India can achieve a lot of goals so let's hope for the best."

The No.1 ranking in 3x3 basketball shows how important he is to Indian basketball.

His team-mate Joginder Singh Saharan said, "Sometimes I feel Vishesh is as pagal as I am for the game of basketball. He started playing before me. He has received the Arjuna Award, which he deserves. Because playing the game for such a long time while staying away from the family is remarkable."

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