24 November, 2020

'No One Told Us What To Do'

There hasn't been a worse outing for India than the current World Cup. Captain Dhanraj Pillay on the three consecutive defeats that have put question marks on the future of Indian hockey as well as his career:

'No One Told Us What To Do'

There has been a question mark on your fitness.

Doctors cleared me at home. True, I am not the Dhanraj of 1994 or 1996. But this same Dhanraj hit a goal with a fractured foot against Pakistan. In one of the matches, I ran for 23 minutes before touching the ball. I did a lot of off-the-ball running to draw away defenders. That created space for Mukesh. People in India aren't used to this kind of hockey, so they say I'm not fit. Also, the through balls aren't coming like before. The few that came I missed. I've never had this kind of slump before.

Why the team's poor performance?

Against Holland we dominated in the first 20 minutes. But we missed many sitters. Our defence was also a weak link. Against Germany we gifted away goals. Against Korea we were at the receiving end of bad umpiring from a Pakistani. He awarded a penalty corner after the final hooter. When we couldn't sustain the pace against Holland there was no one to tell us what to do. We haven't been able to use our skills through good tactical play....



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