Rajpal confident of good show
Hyderabad: Indian hockey captain Rajpal Singh is confident that Team India will put up a good show in the forthcoming inaugural edition of the Asian Champions Trophy which is going to be played in Ordos, China from September 3.
"The Asian Championship is happening for the first time. We play China in our opening round match. It will be tough but the tougher matches we get before the Olympic Qualifier, the better it will be for us as the most important tournament in the next six months is the Qualifier," Rajpal told reporters.
Top Asian teams like South Korea, India and the Asian Games Champions, Pakistan along with Malaysia and the hosts, China will be among the contestants for the inaugural title.
Rajpal will lead the team in the absence of Arjun Halappa, who captained the side at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in May.
Asked about India's chances in the event, the forward said, "We finished third in the Asian games. If we move one step ahead, we should play finals."
"The preparation for the crucial tournament is going well with the new coach Michael Nobbs putting a lot of effort in training the team as per the Australian style," he said.
Observing that the plus point of India has been its fast counter-attack, Rajpal said the new coach is laying his emphasis on it.
Rajpal also had a special word of praise for trainer David John. "Our trainer David John is doing a great job. He is trying to reduce the shortcomings and many players have become fit now. All the players are raring to go."
Asked how he feels about being named captain again, he said: "I feel captaincy is a duty and the captain should try to make the players feel motivated both on and off the field."
Rajpal was speaking on the sidelines of a function where a city-based real estate firm gifted house sites to the members of the team which won Asia Cup in 2007.