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Tirkey was missed: Viren
October 06, 2004 20:26 IST
Stand-in captain Viren Rasquinha said the absence of captain and the team's senior-most player Dilip Tirkey came in the way an Indian victory over Pakistan in the sixth hockey Test in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
India squandered five penalty-corners and were held 1-1 by their arch-rivals, who now lead the series 3-1.
"We missed Dilip badly. He was the only player who could take penalty-corners besides Sandeep Singh. His presence could have made the difference," Rasquinha told reporters after the match.
The keenly-fought match, which the hosts dominated for a major part, saw India blow away a number of opportunities before settling for a draw.
"We did well to come back and equalise the score in the first half itself. But we failed to take the advantage of playing better hockey. A win could have given the side a great boost," he said.
Despite the draw, that ensured India cannot win the series even if they win the remaining two matches, Viren praised his young players for the great show they put up.
"It was great display. They are heading in the right direction. What they need is a little more motivation and some guidance," the stylish mid-fielder said.
"I hope they play with the same spirit in the next two matches. Even if we can't win the series, a draw would be a perfect tribute to the players for their contribution."
Chief coach Gerhard Rach said India were hard hit by some umpiring decisions that denied them the chance to take the lead.
"We should have been given the advantage twice, but were denied by the umpire who made the same mistake in Peshawar and Quetta," Rach said, referring to Amarjit Singh of Malaysia, the neutral umpire for the match.
Rach also said India played with a new game plan, but complimented his counterpart Roelant Oltmans for his shrewd tactics.
"We played with a new game plan today, but we must give credit to Oltmans for changing his plans too."
The German-born coach said India had too little time to work on penalty-corners.
"In Athens, we had little time to prepare for them. Here also we have no time to practice. We are just playing and travelling without any break.
"This is something which needs a lot of practicing and it's not possible to improve without practice."
Admitting that the side missed its senior-most player, Tirkey, Rach said, "He is a class player and it's not easy to find a replacement for him."
Pakistan striker Rehan Butt said his forwards failed to recreate the magic that had downed India in Delhi.
"It was a much better show in Delhi. But today the forward line was totally off-colour."
The teams now proceed to Amritsar tomorrow to play the seventh match of the series on Friday.