Former India captain Pargat Singh says a victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the hockey World Cup tomorrow will boost the morale of the home team.
"The opening match against Pakistan will be crucial for India. Pakistan is a formidable side and we will need to play well to beat them. A win tomorrow will keep the morale of the team high and give the momentum going ionto the tournament," Pargat said.
"We will have to forget the past. If we start with a win, it will have positive impact on our body language. But a loss can sometimes have multiplier effect on the whole morale," he said.
India have not won a major international title since their 1975 World Cup triumph at Kuala Lumpur. The eight-time Olympic champions slumped to a new low in 2008 when they failed to book a plce in the Beijing Games for the first time in 80 years.
Another former player Jugraj Singh, whose promising career suffered a setback after he met with a car accident few years ago, also agreed that opening the account on a winning note will do a lot of good to the team.
"Winning against Pakistan in the first match will give the boys a lot of confidence," Jugraj said.
While Pargat felt that successful conversion of penalty corners would play a big role, Jugraj was of the opinion that India will have to avoid conceding too short corners.