Is Indian hockey in a revival mode?
New Delhi:Indian hockey is in a revival mode with the country having won the Asian Games gold after 16 long years followed by a rare Test series win against World Champions Australia in Perth Sunday.
While in the Incheon Asiad, the centre-half Sardar Singh-led team defeated South Korea and Pakistan on its way to the gold medal, the latest series win Down Under probably holds more significance because it came against the mighty Australia.
The hosts, though were playing without skipper and central defender Mark Knowles, five-time international hockey federation (FIH) Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer and striker-cum-drag-flicker Kieran Govers. More importantly, the 2004 Olympic champions are in a rebuilding phase post the retirement of master tactician Ric Charlesworth.
However, Australia still had several established stars and given the strong reserve bench of the Kookaburras, the Terry Walsh-coached Indians deserve all credit.
India's two-time Olympic captain Pargat Singh said that the current players have been playing as a group for a long time and that is helping them getting these impressive results now.
"They were quite young during their entry into the team and now they' are showing signs of good improvement after playing together for five-six years. It's a very good performance from the Indian team. They will get a lot of confidence from this win and it will inspire them to do well in future tournaments," Pargat told IANS Monday.
"Our playing structure is good. The guys are playing in a group from a very long time, If you stick to this core group of players and give them enough opportunities, they will improve. That's what these guys have done well in the past two tournaments."