Tirkey defends IHF experimentations

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Captain Dilip Tirkey today said the IHF's experimentation with the team would help the country come up with a balanced side for the Athens Olympics.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Defending the much-slammed experimentation policy of the Indian Hockey Federation, captain Dilip Tirkey today said the move would help the country come up with a balanced side for the Athens Olympics. Tirkey said the policy would also help in testing all potential players and picking the best-possible team for the mega event to be held this year in August. "There has been a lot of experimentation in the side in the last few months because of which our performance might have dipped a little. But this is being done to ensure that we play with the best-possible team in the Olympics," the 27 year said on the sidelines of a fitness camp. The IHF has drawn a lot of flak for its experimentation policy after India struggled to repeat its performance of the last year when it won four of the six tournaments they played. But in the all-important Olympic year, India have not won a single tournament out of the three they have played so far including the prestigious Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Malaysia where it finished last. India also finished a dismal fourth in the Olympic qualifiers in Madrid in March. Tirkey said the "mental approach" of players was also responsible to some extent for the team's poor show in important contests. "The problem is that we play good teams with a strong attitude but fail to carry that attitude when we take on weaker opponents. Maybe we end up paying for complacency in some matches. We must overcome this approach as soon as possible," he said. Tirkey said conversion of penalty corners continues to be India's bane as no player has been able to fill the void created by the absence of Jugraj Singh, forced out of action after a near-fatal crash near Jallandhar last year. "We have tried a few players. Len Aiyappa was given chances in a few tournaments. He has a good technique but he does not fit into the schemes of things, at least for now. But hopefully Sandeep Singh, who is doing wonderfully well, and Jatinder Pal Singh will be useful in future tournaments." Sandeep Singh has impressed one and all with his exploits in Junior Asia Cup, scoring neatly with his drag flicks while Jatinder Pal showed a lot of maturity during the four-nation tournament in Australia recently. Both the players are part of the team playing in a four-nation tournament in Japan. (PTI)