After the World Cup debacle, how do you rate India’s triumph in the Azlan Shah Cup?
After the World Cup, finishing joint winners will surely motivate the players to prepare better for the Commonwealth and Asian Games, where our target will be to get a berth in the 2012 London Olympics. Azlan Shah was a warm-up tournament for both the Games.
Of the seven teams, which were in fray, five will be coming for the Asian Games and five will feature in the Commonwealth Games. Instead of getting carried away by the victory in Malaysia, we should focus on more important targets.
Are you satisfied with the team’s performance in Malaysia?
The performance will serve as a good platform for the newcomers and those who made it to the national squad after a gap.
Throughout the tournament, we played good hockey and the best part was we had maximum ball possession.
The team didn’t perform well against Malaysia. Was it the pressure of playing in front of their home crowd?
The way we played in our earlier league matches, we should have defeated them. But as we were already through to the final, we decided to try out a couple of new things.
Such experiments might or might not work in your favour. But playing against the hosts never had us under pressure.
India defeated world champions Australia after a gap of six years. But there were only seven-eight players from the World Cup-winning team in Azlan Shah.
The level of competition in a World Cup is any day tougher than Azlan Shah. We defeated full-strength Korea 3-2 and though Australia were a young side, we shouldn’t forget that they are the world champions and a strong side to defeat.