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Jugraj ready for int'l hockey: Coach
Abhaya Srivastava |
August 27, 2005 22:25 IST
Jugraj Singh's much-awaited comeback may be just on the anvil.
The ace drag flicker looked in fine nick as he went through the paces at the coaching camp in New Delhi under national junior hockey coach Harendra Singh who was quick to point out that Jugraj did deserve at least one international match to prove he was indeed fit to play.
"He is a good fighter, the way he has progressed, I think he is ready for international hockey now," Harendra told PTI on Saturday.
Jugraj was in action in a match against CRPF on Friday -- not only did he play for the entire duration of the match but also scored two goals for his team.
"There is no doubt that he is match fit, but to know whether he can come good in an international match, we must give him one match to play at the highest level," the coach said.
Jugraj has been out of international action for more than two years since he met with a near fatal accident but has defied all odds to stake a claim for a place in the Indian team, which has been struggling to find a replacement for the penalty corner expert.
A desperate Rajinder Singh Junior, the senior coach, had recently stated that the team "badly needed" Jugraj back as he was the key if India had to script a turnaround in their spiralling fortunes.
Harendra could not have agreed with Rajinder Singh more.
"Jugraj is a great team man and a great fighter. His very presence lifts up the spirits of everyone else on the field. He is a great role model for youngsters as he has proved that nothing is impossible if one is determined and ready to give more than 100 per cent," Harendra said.
Unfortunately, that determination seemed to be lacking in the national team at the moment, he said.
"The team also seems to have lost the hunger to win matches. In the Rabo Trophy, the boys lacked the fighting spirit. In the match against Pakistan, for instance, they did not display any fighting spirit at all.
"You may be having internal problems but that cannot be an excuse for not giving your best for your team and for your country," he said.
India lost to arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 en route to a dismal seventh place finish in the eight-nation Rabo Trophy tournament played in Amstelveen, Holland, recently.
Harendra said instead of cribbing and complaining to everyone, the players should try and talk out their problems with the coach and if needed with the Indian Hockey Federation.
"If I have a problem, I will discuss it with Mr Gill. If he does not listen to me, then I have a problem, but if he solves my problem I have no reason to complain."