We will have to raise our bar to defend Asia Cup title: Bansal

India's chief coach A.K. Bansal says India have not played to their potential even though they are in the semifinal of the on-going junior Asia Cup.

updated: July 17, 2008 16:08 IST
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Hosts India might have already booked their place in the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup hockey, but chief coach A.K. Bansal does not seem to be a relaxed man when he said his wards will have to play to their potential to defend the title.

"I am not relaxed. My worry is that till now our boys have not played to their potential," Bansal told PTI while watching the match between title favourites Pakistan and South Korea at the Gachibowli Stadium here.

"I was not worried about qualifying for the semi-finals. What is important is that boys should gain their momentum quickly," he added.

Bansal, who led the senior side to the second spot finish at the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia recently, pointed out that his forwards will have to pull up their socks as the competition will get tougher from here on.

"The forward-line had not clicked so far. They are not playing to their potential in making better attacks and in converting goals," he said.

"However, compared to our average performance against Japan, the showing against Malaysia was better. The boys are picking up slowly.

"I am holding classroom meetings, watching video footage of the opponents and conducting detailed discussions with the players to strengthen the attack." he said.

Asked about the short-corner conversion rate, he said, "The percentage (penalty corner conversion) isn't bad. It is 40 per cent. Diwakar Ram is scoring well but he cannot score from all the penalty corners."

Bansal, however, was hopeful that his boys would gain the momentum and put up a better show in the semi-finals.

"Hopefully, the boys will display a better performance in the next league game against Singapore," he said.

Bansal today keenly witnessed the Pool B league match between Pakistan and South Korea as India would be facing either of the teams in the last four.

"We have to play the winners of this game in the semi-finals and I am a bit cautious to watch the moves of both the teams," he said.

He, however, declined to make any specific comment on Ric Charlesworth's out-of-the-blue resignation from the post of Indian hockey's Technical Advisor.

"He is a talented and experienced coach. What problem he is having I do not know," said Bansal.

Asked whether he would like to see the Australian back as Indian team's consultant, he said, "It was a difficult question."