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Hockey coach spells out strategy

July 21, 2005 22:47 IST

Spelling out a definite strategy on the first day of the training camp for the eight-nation Rabobank hockey tournament, national hockey coach Rajinder Singh Jr said he would focus on penalty-corner conversions and defence.

"There are some areas of concern which we are working upon. Hopefully, at the end of the camp we would have rectified these. Penalty-corner conversion is an area where we need to improve. We also need to pull up our defences," Rajinder Singh told reporters in Chandigarh on Thursday evening.

The probables, including Gagan Ajit Singh, Devesh Chauhan and Prabhjot Singh, began a three-week training for next month's tournament, billed as a mini World Cup. Captain Dilip Tirkey is expected to join the camp on Friday.

The coach expressed confidence that the team picked for the forthcoming tournament will perform better and pinned hopes on drag-flickers Raghunath, Didar Singh and Navpreet Singh.

On strategy, he said, "We will have to concentrate both on our attacking side and the defence side."

Asked which team he considers the toughest to beat, Rajinder replied, "All teams are equally good. We can't afford to take any team lightly."

Gagan Ajit Singh, who was out of favour following India's disastrous show in the Athens Olympics and also suspended for three months for misconduct during the men's nationals in Hyderabad in March, said he felt great to be back after nearly a year's gap.

"The camp will help raise my confidence and further improving my game," he added.

He said the team would work hard towards finishing in the top three in the upcoming tournament, but added that beating Germany would be challenging.

Asked whether drag flicker Sandeep Singh's absence would be felt, Deepak Thakur said, "No doubt his presence makes a difference, but there are other boys who look equally promising. Let's see how they shape up during the camp."

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