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Win against Pak will boost India`s morale: Pargat Singh

Last Updated: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 13:41

Chandigarh: Former India captain Pargat
Singh today said a victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in
their opening match of the hockey World Cup tomorrow will
boost the morale of the home team.

"The opening match against Pakistan will be crucial for
India. Pakistan is a formidable side and we will need to play
well to beat them. A win tomorrow will keep the morale of the
team high and give the momentum going ionto the tournament,"
Pargat told agency.

"We will have to forget the past. If we start with a win,
it will have positive impact on our body language. But a loss
can sometimes have multiplier effect on the whole morale," the
he said.

India have not won a major international title since
their 1975 World Cup triumph at Kuala Lumpur. The eight-time
Olympic champions slumped to a new low in 2008 when they
failed to book a place in the Beijing Games for the first time
in 80 years.

Another former player Jugraj Singh, whose promising
career suffered a setback after he met with a car accident few
years ago, also agreed that opening the account on a winning
note will do a lot of good to the team.

"Winning against Pakistan in the first match will give
the boys a lot of confidence," Jugraj said.

While Pargat felt that successful conversion of penalty
corners would play a big role, Jugraj was of the opinion that
India will have to avoid conceding too short corners.

"I feel (drag-flicker) Sandeep Singh should be our trump
card. If he can convert 1-2 goals, I believe that can make
a big difference," said Pargat.

Jugraj said having three drag-flickers in the side --
Sandeep, Diwakar Ram and Dhananjay Mahadik -- would give
the hosts an upper hand in the 12-team event over others.

"I think the level of fitness of Indian players is pretty
good. Besides, I think the chief coach (Jose Brasa) is doing a
great job and making perfect use of the rolling substitutions,
the drag-flicker said.

On India`s chances in the tournament, Pargat said, "Our
first aim should be to come in the top six."

Meanwhile, former India striker Gagan Ajit Singh said
India has the potential to reach the top, but will need to
play really well.

"India has the potential to reach the semi-finals, but we
will have to give our best performance."

He was of the view that the controversies in the run-up
to the tournament will have no bearing on India`s chances.

"I don`t think so. The players know the importance of the
event and will not let controversies affect their focus," he
said, adding the team has a nice blend of youth and experience
in it.

"There are quality senior players including skipper
Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and
Arjun Halappa in the side who should lead from the front,"
Gagan said.


First Published: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 13:41
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