Dhanraj Pillay criticises move to have one custodian in Asian Games

Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay is upset with the selection of only one goalkeeper in the Indian team due to take part in the Incheon Asian Games starting, Friday.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 22:21 PM IST
Dhanraj Pillay criticises move to have one custodian in Asian Games

Mumbai: Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay is upset with the selection of only one goalkeeper in the Indian team due to take part in the Incheon Asian Games starting, Friday.

"It's a very bad strategy, I can say. You cannot take chances with the goalkeeper. You go in with one full back less and have a second goalkeeper instead," said Pillay today, recalling how discarded custodian Adrian D'Souza got severely hurt in the first match in Hyderabad, a few years ago in a League when defending a penalty corner.

Wishing the Indian team well, the current Air India coach cautioned the Sardar Singh-led squad not to take any team lightly, especially arch-rivals Pakistan, who have not been seen in international hockey for quite some time now.

"We are in a tough pool with Pakistan. We have to play according to plan and strategy should be very good. We have not seen Pakistan or South Korea for seven months or so and we cannot take them lightly," said the 46-year-old four-time Olympian.

"Every time we play against Pakistan, it's like war. I have played in four Asian Games finals, two of those against Pakistan and the others against South Korea," recalled Pillay who scored the match-winner in the final against Pakistan at Bangkok in 1998 to fetch India only its second men's hockey gold at the Games.

Pillay felt that the new four-quarter game format, that will be introduced in the Games, would benefit coaches and not Indian players who take time to settle down.

"It's very good for the coaches. In the first quarter the coach will field his best team, in the second he will rest some, in the third he will again play them. But in 15 minutes you can't show everything but Indian hockey is adopted by European style of hockey.

"I came to know through players (in camp) that they are playing for 3 minutes, 5 or 7 minutes (before being rested).

Indian and Pakistan players need more time to adjust, settle down and understand opposition."