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India is peaking at the right time: Hockey coach
July 01, 2003 10:14 IST
The Indian hockey team is peaking at the right time, coach Rajinder Singh said on Tuesday morning.
"Our build-up to the Champions Trophy and Olympics has been just right and we are on track to achieve our long-standing goals," said Singh, who arrived along with the Indian team after a victorious German outing.
Singh, who had guided the junior team to World Cup glory in 2001, said the recent successes of the Indian team may have raised the expectations of fans, but the team was not under any kind of pressure.
"There is no pressure of expectation on us. But our good performances have put the pressure on our rivals who will have to start taking us more seriously," said the coach.
"We have struck a right balance in the team and we will stick with this winning combination though there may be minor changes here and there," he added.
Reflecting on India's triumph in the four-nation Hamburg Masters tournament, he said, "A coach is never satisfied with his team's show but I must say the boys played their hearts out."
Singh said he was worried about India's field goal scoring abilities.
"We have improved in penalty corner conversions but the field goal scoring needs to be worked on. Also we must strengthen our midfield attack. The European teams play with a lot of power and we have to match them by being more aggressive," Singh said.
The coach said the team will iron out the weaknesses in the camp preceding the Champions Trophy in August in Amstelveen, Netherlands.
Singh praised the team for its concerted effort, picking out captain Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh Dhillon for special mention. "Both Pillay and Dhillon are my biggest strength."
The coach, however, said Deepak Thakur, who made a comeback to the team after a brief injury lay-off, needed to improve his game. "I am not satisfied with Deepak's performance. He did not justify his talent. He will have to work harder."
Player-of-the-tournament Gagan Ajit Singh said the tournament turned out to be one of the most memorable for him.
"It feels great to be honoured with such a big award among stalwarts and champions. It is nice to be declared the best among the best," said the forward.