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Team work key to success: Pillay
June 10, 2003 18:33 IST
Their confidence high after a successful Australian campaign, the Indian hockey team is now eyeing to break the Champions Trophy jinx, captain Dhanraj Pillay said in Bangalore on Tuesday.
"The tournament in Australia was a good start and we will try to keep the tempo for the Champions Trophy in August," a jubilant Pillay told reporters on arrival from Australia at the Bangalore airport.
India have never won the prestigious Champions Trophy; last year too they had to be content with fourth place. Its best show in the tournament of elite nations is a third place.
Pillay said the current team is an experimental one, having been knit together keeping in view the Champions Trophy.
The mercurial striker, who was mobbed by hockey enthusiasts on arrival, said the team is now looking to build on its good performances in Australia and work harder, with the aim of winning the Champions Trophy as well as the Athens Olympics gold medal.
He said the team will assemble at Delhi on June 17 for a short-camp before proceeding for the Panasonic Cup in Germany on June 21. The tournament begins on June 27. The other two teams in the tournament are Argentina and Spain.
Pillay said team work was key to success in the double-leg Hockey Australia Men's Challenge in Australia, where it won the second leg and placed second in the first, but refused to single out any individual player for praise.
He, however, said Sandeep Michael's goal against Pakistan was "one of the best goals" he had ever seen. "It was hit from zero angle."
He added he had seen only Mukesh Kumar come up with such shots.
Pillay expressed displeasure over the red card shown to Baljit Singh Dhillon in India's match against Pakistan, saying it was the reason for India's failure to beat its arch-rival.
India were held to a 4-4 draw after leading 3-1 at one stage in the match.
"I don't know why Dhillon got the red card. I don't think he should have been given that," he said. "After Dhillon was shown the red card we could not keep our 3-1 lead and had to settle for a 4-4 draw."
Responding to a question, Pillay said India makes extra effort whenever they face Pakistan on the field.
"We play with an attitude that we can lose to any team, but not to Pakistan.
"Pakistan also has the same attitude against India.
"When we play Pakistan, we play with full heart. We have to give 200 per cent," Pillay said.
He said he is satisfied with the performance of the team in the double-leg tournament, where "penalty-corners helped us a lot".
Photograph: Ranjan Basu/Saab Press