Former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh hit out at the current lot of drag-flickers in the national team and said they're more focused on "playing" on social media rather scoring goals on the field on Saturday.
Sandeep SinghI’m not against anyone but if you are of no use, then it’s better to have an extra full back, defender or forward. “They should attempt more on playing at grounds. That’s my opinion. They should keep themselves away from social networking sites.
India's inability to produce top-class penalty corner specialists has hurt them badly especially in Rio Olympics as both their drag-flickers in VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh had poor conversion rates.
Sandeep said India has created hype about producing three-four drag flickers but their inability to convert makes them an "extra baggage" in the team.
Sandeep SinghYou create hype about drag-flickers saying we have four-five in our team. But if you can’t produce top two from them, then it’s of no use. To have four-five of them but if none of them are effective, then it’s like carrying an extra baggage. If you see our conversion rate, it is less than 15 per cent even as we have four drag-flickers in the team. In Hockey India League, it’s less than seven per cent. Maybe three to four goals from 30-35 attempts. My maximum has been 75 per cent and a minimum of 35.
"I consider my Olympic performance as pathetic but I still maintained 35 per cent – scored twice out of five. I did not play in HIL but I saw all matches. They don't read goalkeepers. Basically it's about reading goalkeepers and how they're rushing out," Sandeep said.
Singling out Australian Chris Ciriello and Argentine Gonzalo Peillat, he said they should look up to the duo.
Sandeep SinghThey both are more focused on scoring rather than showing off. They flick after reading the goalkeeper and the runners. If you see in finals and semifinals, they have taken their team single-handedly.
He further said Indian juniors, who beat Belgium to win the World Cup crown after 15 years in December last year, should be given maximum chance keeping 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind.
Sandeep SinghThe young players who have won the Junior World Cup are really doing a great thing. I think we should keep our focus on Olympics and not Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.
(With inputs from PTI)
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