Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey: IOC coach Deepak Thakur to play for defending champion

Indian Oil Corporation hockey team coach Deepak Thakur will pick up the stick after a long gap as his team gets ready to defend the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup All-India hockey tournament in Chennai.

IOCL coach Deepak Thakur gives instructions to his players during the Bengaluru Hockey Super Division Championship.   -  SAMPATH KUMAR G. P.

Wherever it goes, the Indian Oil Corporation hockey team is the most sought-after team for it always had the star players to back it.

Ahead of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup All-India hockey tournament which begins in Chennai on Thursday, defending champion IOC will also have the services of its head coach Deepak Thakur on the pitch.

The 38-year-old, a two-time Olympian, said he will have to play in the Murugappa tournament for such is the composition of the team. “I haven’t played for nearly a year. But I am fit. I have no other option than to take the stick [and play]. I feel good as I scored today [Tuesday] against TN team,” Thakur told Sportstar, after a friendly match with the Tamil Nadu senior team here on Tuesday.

The team consists of senior players such as V. R. Raghunath, Vickramkanth, and solid players such as S. K. Uthappa, Talwinder Singh, Affan Yousuf, Armaan Quereshi and Sumit Kumar, among others.

But Deepak Thakur, head coach of IOC, said despite his side having the momentum having clinched the Bangalore Cup and the Bangalore Super division this month; it won’t be easy in Chennai.
“Five to seven players are in the Indian camp. The hot and humid weather conditions here will be difficult. Moreover, we have been in Bengaluru for a while where the weather is better. It will be a bit difficult [here], but the momenum is on our side,” said Deepak