Form of goalkeepers concern Sardar Singh ahead of World League
Both P R Sreejesh and P T Rao did not have the best of outings in the inaugural Hockey India League and national hockey team captain Sardar Singh feels goalkeeping is an area of concern for the hosts ahead of the Hockey World League 2 to be held here from February 18-26.
Turning out for Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the just-concluded HIL, both Sreejesh and Rao were below-par under the bar as their franchise failed to progress to the semi-finals of the five-team event, managing just one win out of 12 games.
But Sardar is confident about the duo's reversal of form in the upcoming Hockey World League 2, which is a qualifying event for the 2014 FIH World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.
"Obviously, goalkeeping is a concern because Sreejesh and Rao did not have a very good HIL. But ups and downs are part and parcel of a player's life," he said here today.
"I feel Sreejesh is one of the best goalkeepers in theworld. It was a matter of time he gets his form back. I feel it's just about regaining their self-confidence back as soon as possible," Sardar said on the sidelines of a progamme announcing energy company Cairn India's association with hockey.
Cairn India, the energy company, has signed a multi-crore three-year deal with Hockey India as a co-sponsor.
Lauding the HIL, Sardar said the franchise-based event has been a blessing in disguise for Indian hockey because in young players like Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh, the league has produced some future stars of the game.
"We have learnt a lot from the HIL after spending a month with top foreign players. Earlier, we didn't use to get too much time and opportunity to rub shoulders with foreigners.
"I feel the confidence of our young players have also increased after getting a chance to play alongside foreign stars like Jamie Dwyer, Tuen de Nooijer etc. We needed players like Mandeep and Malak in the team and it is because of the HIL they came into limelight," Sardar said.