Hockey: Coach Terry Walsh hopes Chandi will strengthen India’s attack
After a dismal performance in the World Cup, India hockey coach Terry Walsh’s priority now is to strengthen his forward line for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which run July 23-August 23.
The Australian hopes that the addition of Gurwinder Singh Chandi, who returns to the squad after one and a half years, would bolster the attack that looked jaded in the World Cup where the 1975 champions finished a disappointing ninth.The forward line now boasts of S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Chandi. Altogether they have 297 caps among them. Walsh has hoped that Chandi’s experience will be a benefit for the team against the opponents.
Chandi said he was happy to be back in the Indian team and that too for a big ticket event like the Commonwealth Games.
“I am happy that I am back in the Indian team and that too for a big tournament, the Commonwealth Games. Although the comeback took me one and a half years, but I utilised this period to work on my game which I will be using to my strength during the Commonwealth Games,” said Chandi.
Chandi said the team is working hard on the attacking positions.
“The team is working hard on the forward position wherein our chief coach Terry Walsh is pushing us to give our best during these sessions and this has helped us to get closely weaved with each other’s style of game on the field,” he said.
Chandi said that India will have to be wary of Australia, who thrashed India 8-0 in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Besides Australia, the other teams in India’s group are Wales, Scotland and South Africa.
“Australia is a pretty tough team in our pool to compete with but we will perform at our best against every team that we play against according to the strategies prepared by our coaches. I am sure that we will be able to deliver and live up to the expectations of our fans,” he said.
Walsh said India have one of the best forward line-up as compared to the tournaments in the recent past.
“The two young players, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Ramandeep Singh who got injured before the start of the World Cup, are set to make their comeback along with an experienced senior player Gurwinder Singh Chandi. It’s a sign of added power to the our forward line. Gurwinder has good knowledge about tackling the ball in the circle and will play a key role in bringing positive results for the team,” he said.
Walsh said that the experience of Sunil and Chandi will be the key.
“I am confident that by combining the experience of these senior players Sunil and Chandi, along with the opportunities created by our midfield will prove beneficial in increasing the conversion rate of the team and will produce excellent results.”
“We still have more than a week ahead of our first game against Wales before which there are two practice games, scheduled against England and New Zealand this week, which will prove helpful in preparing the team better before commencing with matches in the tournament,” Walsh said.