|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Ignace hopeful of a medal in Melbourne
March 06, 2006 20:59 IST
Ignace Tirkey, captain of the Indian hockey team, believes his "well-balanced", new-look team will clinch a medal at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne from March 15 to 26.
"The positive thing about us is that we had some good match practice before playing the Commonwealth Games. So I don't think anybody can stop us from winning a medal," Ignace said before the team left for Melbourne on Sunday night.
The Orissa midfielder said the team is well-balanced, with blend of youth and experience, and the inclusion of veterans Deepak Thakur and Viren Rasquinha should strengthen it.
"Our team is a good combination of youth and experienced players. With the return of Viren and Deepak it has become a lot more balanced; the midfield and the forward line has been boosted," he said.
He, however, said the absence of seasoned defender Dilip Tirkey would be felt.
Ignace said the Pakistan series proved helpful for the players as it provided a chance to assess their strengths and weaknesses.
"The coach told us that if we could not get much scope to score goals, then we must try to get penalty-corners. Now, we would concentrate on getting as much penalty-corners as we can and use the services of Sandeep Singh, who is a good drag-flicker," he said.
Picking arch-rivals Pakistan as the team's main opponents at the Games, Ignace said the India-Pakistan encounter "would be a thrilling one".
"Both the teams know each other's strong and weak points," he added.