Sandeep is the star to watch, says Argentine Ibarra | india | Hindustan Times
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Sandeep is the star to watch, says Argentine Ibarra

india Updated: Feb 26, 2010 18:52 IST

Argentine penalty-corner specialist Pedro Ibarra thinks highly of Sandeep Singh and says that the Indian drag-flicker would be one of the stars to watch out for in the ensuing hockey World Cup.

"Sandeep is one of the best drag flickers in the world. We were lucky he did not play against us in the Champions Challenge. He has the ability to alter the course of the match," said Ibarra Thursday.

Ibarra said that Pakistan's veteran drag-flicker Sohail Abbas could be the surprise of the tournament after staging comeback last year.

"Sohail Abbas has the experience and Pakistan team will look up to him. It will be a great contest between India and Pakistan Sunday," he said.

Argentina has a lot of players with individual flair, said the 24-year-old Ibarra, and they are working to jell as a team following a system.

"We always had good individual players with a flair and that is the strength of our side. Our defence is also good. We really need to try and adopt a system that can mix with our individual skills. I think if we can do that, we can perform well."

As for their expectations from this World Cup, Ibarra said: "We have entered as the last team in this tournament and will take it step by step.

"We play our first match against the Netherlands and we'll see how things go from there. Our first aim will be to reach the top eight."

Ibarra said that their assistant coach Jorge Lombi, a veteran penalty-corner specialist, has been of big help.

"Lombi was one of the best in the world and he is helping us hone our penalty-corner skills," said Ibarra.

Ibarra said that playing hockey in India is special.

"It's something special to play hockey in India because everybody follows the sport. The last tournament we played was the Champions Challenge. We did not have any warm up matches before the World Cup but we did a lot of training and we are happy with the preparation."