'All-round bad hockey costing India heavily'

India have failed completely to learn their lessons from the Sydney Olympics.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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India have failed completely to learn their lessons from the Sydney Olympics, where they finished seventh, and therefore the script does not read much different at the Athens Olympics Games. The Indians played Argentina in a win or draw situation to avoid the wooden spoon and finally settled for a 2-2 draw to escape the worst situation. The depleted Indian side, without the services of William Xalco and Deepak Thakur, played under severe pressure due to the poor show by Harpal Singh and Ignace Tirkey and the entire deep defence. Even the marking was below par as in the first 10 minutes India conceded two penalty corners. Goal keeper delivers Again, it was a sterling performance from goalkeeper Adrain D'Souza, who came to India's rescue by saving the two corners taken by the irrepressible George Lombi, which saved the day for the team. All his saves were of high standard and the draw was possible only due to the good performance of D'Souza. The management should now look only at the task ahead and prepare the team fully for the next two games which are as important as semi-finals. Best foot forward The players must get their act together, put their best foot forward leaving behind the disappointments of the past. In fact, they should start afresh and strive to finish in the top six at least which will not only boost the team's confidence but also help it gain entry to the Champions Trophy and all other major tournaments. If we fail to do that, I am afraid Indian hockey would have to be given a serious re-look. There should not be any excuse for not being able to finish among the top six. Hopefully, the team would fight as one to achieve this goal and salvage some pride. (PTI)