Rueing the lack of good drag-flickers at the moment, former India captain Dilip Tirkey stated that India had a very good chance of winning the recently-concluded Hockey World Cup at Odisha but need world-class flickers in near future. India ended their campaign in the quarterfinals after defeat versus eventual runners-up Netherlands.
Stressing on Tirkey's point, India failed to convert three of the five penalty corners in their 5-0 win over South Africa which marked their tournament-opener at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium.
In Rupinder Pal Singh's absence, Indian squad comprised of three drag-flickers in Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Varun Kumar. Their conversion rate was, however, dismal. "We need to have world class flickers. We presently have Harmanpreet, Amit Rohidas and Varun. We have to focus on them. We need to have a 60-70 per cent conversion rate in important matches," Tirkey said, on the sidelines of the Beighton Cup tournament here.
Tirkey said the youngsters failed to live up to the expectations against Netherlands (in the quarters) and missed a golden chance to clinch the World Cup. "I feel our youngsters could not play as per their standards. Otherwise team's performance was very good. There was some good tackling. It's bad luck that we could not live up to the expectations in the quarters. Overall it was a good show. I feel we missed the World Cup.
After a long time, we saw development in Indian hockey team. With a lot of talented youngsters, we looked fit. We drew Belgium in the league stage," he said pointing out to the 2-2 draw against the champions.
TIrkey has backed India coach Harendra Singh to do a fine job. "Harendra Singh is doing extremely well with the team. We lost to Australia in the shootout (Champions Trophy). It was an impressive show (at the World Cup). All the foreign coaches have their contribution for the Indian team but as of now, Harendra Singh is the best coach for the Indian team. We need to work on this Indian team," he said hailing the 2016 Junior World Cup winning coach.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega