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Expect no miracles at Azlan Shah hockey, says coach
Anand Philar
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May 03, 2007 23:07 IST

Newly-appointed chief coach Joaquim Carvalho said no miracle should be expected from India's young hockey team in the eight-nation Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, commencing on Saturday.

"It is basically a young team with quite a few players not fully exposed to top-level international competition. You need to be patient before the results start coming in," Carvalho said in an exclusive interview in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Thursday.

Ignace Tirkey opts out of team

"The Azlan Shah tournament is a development exercise for the team. So, please do not expect any miracles. I am not making excuses, but only stating facts," he said.

Carvalho said their focus had been on off-the-ball running and re-tackling while avoiding "stereotype" methods.

"The days of blindly running with the ball, trying to dribble past the entire rival defence, are gone. I have been emphasising on the need to avoid that kind of style.

"We cannot afford to play a stereotype game these days, like playing on the wings. There has to be a lot of innovation which I think is a key factor," Carvalho said.

As regards the composition of the team, he said a few senior players like Dilip Tirkey and Arjun Halappa, were not included as they did not attend the selection trials due to their professional commitments in the Dutch league.

"However, this team has a fair mix of youth and experience. We need young, fresh legs so that they could develop into competitive players over the next one year or so.

"In this context, the Azlan Shah tournament is an important stepping stone for the team and I am hopeful of a good performance here," Carvalho said.

About the two practice matches earlier this week in Kuala Lumpur, Calvalho, who is on his first assignment with the team, said too much should not be read into the results.

"Basically, we were trying out various combinations, though I must say we could have won both the matches as we dominated. It was a useful outing for the boys playing together for the first time," he said.

He clarified that the Indian team is in the process of rebuilding itself following a disastrous 2006 when they finished 11th at the World Cup and failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Asian Games in Doha.

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