Veteran India dragflicker VR Raghunath thinks that the current team is better prepared for the Olympics than the side which finished eighth in the preceding edition in Rio de Janerio. India had missing to Belgium in the quarterfinals in the 2016 Summer Games. Raghunath isn’t in the list of Olympic probables this time. “The Canada match which we drew cost us in 2016. That result put us in a different qualification group. But I feel the current batch of players can maintain the Olympics a lot better,” said Raghunath in a Hockey India release.
“The same batch of players have been around for seven-eight years now, they’re in touch with European players. They may be able to perform much better than Rio,” he added.
At the Olympics, it’s all approximately winning those near games, said Raghunath, who is currently the vice-president of Karnataka Hockey Organization.
“It comes down to one or two matches and how you get your rhythm correct in the arena. I have seen teams keeping it simple and playing with a free brain. I’d tell the players not to think much approximately the occasion,’ he said.
“The players are in the same age group and have been quarantined together for a very long time so they’re familiar with each and every other and have been winning Pro League games as polite.
“Players like Rupinder and Manpreet were around in the preceding edition as polite. They’ve covered each area polite,” the 32-year-old added.
The former Asian Games champion used to be full of compliment for current vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh, who took over drag-flick duties from Raghunath.
“Harman had immediately arrived after the U-21 World Cup win. There were directions from the coaches to take him under our wing; to offer protection to him no less than for 30-40 matches in order that he could get an idea of what international hockey is all approximately. We guided him and he grasped things in no time,” said Raghunath.
“We could see the leads to just 3-4 months. He started scoring as polite. Rupinder Pal Singh and I tried to treat him like a brother and not as a player. Our coaches have moulded us in this type of way that the juniors are comfortable around the seniors.
“He has come a long way during the last four years, and I feel, he has another 8-10 years of international Hockey in him. Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas have also entered the mix. This is good for Indian hockey as we don’t seem to be certain when a player will be down with an injury.”
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