Better attack than be attacked

AJIT PAL SINGH

PLAYING at home can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. The local crowd is behind you when you perform well, otherwise you don't know where to hide.

It is a tough tournament as the six top teams of the world fight for the honours. It is supposed to be the toughest, as there are no easy matches. Over the years I have noticed that some teams try new combinations. They basically prepare for the Olympics and World Cup. Teams like Australia, Germany and Holland are equally good irrespective of fielding experienced players or new faces.

We will try to field our best combination, but it will be difficult to predict anything. India should do well. They should hopefully be in the reckoning for a medal. They have been preparing for the Champions Trophy in a big way, from the organisational point of view. We all know that Indian hockey needs one good performance to get a shot in the arm.

The players have been training together and you always try to go for such tournaments well prepared. Some players have been competing in other countries, and Pakistani players have been competing here in the league.

It is difficult for coaches to deliver results on a short-term basis. Many frequent changes in the team management, particularly coaching, do not help the team.

Well, players do come and go. It is not your name, but your performance that counts.

The new players are generally well motivated and eager to perform. There have been a number of times when we had our chances but we let them slip. Hope this team is alert and well prepared to grab its chances. Our major problem is that we are not consistent. Some times we play great hockey and even within the match slip in the last 10 minutes or so. I am stating the obvious, but we need to score goals. We have to threaten the opponents, rather than allow ourselves to be attacked.

My best wishes are with the team and I am looking forward to a podium finish.

(As told to Kamesh Srinivasan)