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Modern day hockey is all about fitness and stamina

Too much dribbling, stick work and holding on to the ball are things of a bygone era. These might please the galleries but do no good to the team.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 17:02 IST

The modern day hockey is all about fitness, agility and stamina. The days of too much dribbling, stick work and holding on to the ball are over. These things please the galleries but does no good to the team.

It is the goals which matter and sometimes its better to play poor game and win rather display flourish and lose.

The Indians forwards left much to be desired. There was no cohesion between them. In fact, the whole team displayed inconsistency.

Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad, Shivendra Singh, Tejbir and Rajpal Singh were uneven in their showing while for Gagan Ajit it turned out to be a highly forgettable tournament.

The midfielders -- Arjun Halappa, Ignace Tirkey, VS Vinay, Vikram Pillay, Viren Rasquinha and Prabodh Tirkey also failed to give their team the needed support at crucial moments.

The defence was always under pressure with Dilip Tirkey along with Raghunath and Kanwalpreet Singh overworked.

Goalkeepers Adrian DSouza and Bharat Chettri, however, did well under the given circumstances.

Coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran kept supporting the players till the end of the league but could not hide his displeasure after his boys lost to Argentina saying "They should try to learn from their mistakes. I keep telling them to improve the grey areas but they still keep repeating mistakes."

However, he surprised everybody when he said, "I never had a target in this World Cup. I knew the strengths of the teams we'll be facing. In a tournament like the World Cup, most teams are of top quality and players are of high calibre."

The Indian coach, however, maintained that his boys have the potential.

"They are good players, they shouldnt be written off. They have the talent and theyll come up," he asserted.

He said in future the boys need to play an attacking game but have to be very careful not to concede soft and last minute goals.

Against India, Germany scored their match-winner in the 69th minute, England scored thrice between 54th and 61st, South Africa equalised in the 64th and Koreans moved from 0-1 down to 2-1 with goals in the 62nd and 68th, before the Netherlands converted five penalty corners and a penalty stroke while routing India 6-1.

However, Bhaskaran was candid enough to admit that his players were short on mental toughness.

"Physically, I feel the players can easily last 70 minutes but our inability to bounce back or maintain a good position has cost us a lot," he said.

He also said winning and defeat is part of the game.

"What was disappointing was the deep defence which conceded too many soft penalty corners in the tournament," he said.

Asked if that leaves question mark on deep defenders, the coach said, "Of course, we have to reconsider some of these players in the deep defence.

"Vinay, Prabodh, Shivendra, Ignance, Viren are the players, I'd pick up those who gave a good account of themselves. Raghunath too had done well in his first World Cup. Overall, the forwards' performance was fifty-fifty and they will have to improve," he explained.

He was of the view that team management will have to plan afresh for the Asian Games.

"And we have to solve our deep defence problems," he reiterated.