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Upbeat Indian jr hockey team set for Argentina trip
December 02, 2008 17:25 IST
Junior India hockey team coach A K Bansal has his priorities in place for the upcoming Test series in Argentina. He says he will be working on fine-tuning his boys in powerplay, a characteristic the Argentines rule world hockey.
Bansal said he is realistic about the tour, but does not have loads of expectations against the formidable Argentines.
"Argentina is a very tough team and are the winners of the last Junior World Cup. The Argentines are known for their body play and our boys require that experience; so, for long, I was trying for the trip and eventually it materialised," Bansal said.
"Frankly speaking, I am not keeping high expectations. I don't mind winning or losing, because at the end of the day it's an exposure trip.
"My main aim would be to try out all the 20 boys on the trip," he said.
Bansal was of the view that cancellation of the Pakistan trip due to security fears was a blessing in disguise for the team, since it got a higher platform for preparation by playing in the Senior Nehru Cup hockey tournament.
After the last-minute cancellation of the Pakistan tour, the junior team participated in the Nehru Cup in Gurgaon, as 'India Colts', and eventually emerged winners, defeating some big names on the domestic circuit in the process.
"The cancellation of the Pakistan trip acted in our favour, as the Nehru hockey tournament gave us a better platform for preparation.
"We played seven top-class matches in the tournament and also won the tournament. It was great exposure for the boys.
"The results show that we are on the right path," said Bansal, who guided the side to the Asia Cup triumph in Hyderabad earlier this year.
Asked about the mood in the camp, the coach said players are raring to prove themselves in foreign land.
"Unlike me, the boys are very confident. They are eager to perform. They are more excited and upbeat after the Nehru Cup triumph."
The under-21 team will leave for Buenos Aires on Thursday. There they will play four Tests against Argentina and one against Netherlands.
The 14-day tour to Argentina is part of India's preparation for next year's Junior World Cup, to be held in Malaysia and Singapore.
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