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India choked at the end: Bhaskaran
September 09, 2006 20:21 IST
Coach Vasudevan Baskaran blamed India's perennial weakness to choke under pressure in the dying minutes for the team's miserable run in the hockey World Cup.
"We have seen for many years the Indian teams unable to withstand pressure in the last 10 minutes and it was the case here today. We were leading 1-0 with six minutes left, but conceded the equaliser. I am extremely disappointed that we could not win today," he said at a press conference after South Africa held India to a 1-1 draw in Monchengladbach on Saturday.
Baskaran said squandering half-chances in Saturday's crucial match also cost India dear.
"In a high-intensity match like the one today, it is important that we convert half-chances. We failed to do so and also our inability to hold on to the ball in the final minutes of a game cost us three points today," the coach said.
When queried about the absence of experienced full-back Kanwalpreet Singh from the game, Baskaran said: "He had two bad games (including a yellow card against Germany) and his body language was not good. So we decided to try Raghunath for whom it was a big moment, making his senior international debut."
The coach said he was happy with Raghunath's performance.
"He had just one attempt with penalty corner, but otherwise, I was quite happy with his showing today," Baskaran said.