Lot of hard work ahead, says Dhillon

After lifting the Champions Challenge trophy, captain Baljit Singh Dhillon feels a lot of hard work still needs to be done before the World Cup next year.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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New Delhi:

After the splendid victory in the Champions Challenge tournament in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, the Indian hockey team has set its sights on the World Cup next year though captain Baljit Singh Dhillon said a lot of hard work still needed to be done. Expressing satisfaction with the team's performance in Malaysia, which would also host the World Cup in two months time, Dhillon said the team needed to work harder on many areas, specially mid-field play so that no chances were missed. "We missed a lot of chances in this tournament. We should have won the final by at least five or six goals," Dhillon said on arrival here from Kuala Lumpur along with seven of his teammates. The remaining members of the team including coach Cedric D'Souza stopped in Chennai. However, Dhillon was very satisfied with the result. "We succeeded in our game plan and played good hockey. We had a very good rate of penalty corner conversion that obviously worked to our advantage," Dhillon said. He said the combination of senior and junior players had been beneficial for the team as youth and experience complemented each other well. Now, the aim was to continue the good performance in the World Cup and Asian Games next year apart from the Champions Trophy for which India qualified by virtue of having won in Kuala Lumpur. "We had two back-to-back victories (in Junior World Cup and Champions Challenger) and that is a tremendous confidence booster for the team. Now we have to continue the good work," Dhillon said. "In World Cup and Champions Trophy, we will have tougher competition and we will have to be better prepared. We cannot afford to miss chances there," he said. As part of its preparations for the coming tournaments, India will embark on a tour of Argentina and Singapore next month to play a few practice matches. Coach D'Souza has already said that the Indian team would not feature in any more tournaments before the World Cup and will only play some quality Test matches with other countries. The World Cup starts in Kuala Lumpur on February 24. (PTI)