New Delhi: London Olympics champion, Germany captain Mortitz Fuerste feels that the Indian hockey team has improved a lot under inspirational Sardar Singh`s leadership but the side needs to adapt to the playing styles of top international teams to become a force to reckon with.
"The Indian team has a lot of skills. It`s always fun to watch them play. In Sardar Singh, they have a good leader and the young guys like Manpreet (Singh) and others are learning from him," Fuerste told PTI Bhasha in an interview.
"But the Indian team should learn from other international sides. They should work hard and try to adapt as much as from international teams. They should be open to new style of play and work on their weaknesses. If they really want it, there will be a way to reach it," added the 2012 FIH Player of the Year.
The German skipper said Sardar was rightly nominated for the 2012 FIH Player of the Year award along side him, Australian Jamie Dwyer, Fuerste`s team-mate Tobias Hauke and Netherlands` Robert van der Horst.
"Sardar had a great year and it was a well-deserved nomination for him," he said.
Fuerste would be seen dribbling his stick for Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League (HIL) to be held across the country from January 14 to February 10.
Fuerste, HIL`s one of the most expensive players with USD 83,950, was amazed to see the craze for hockey in India and said the situation is just opposite in his own country.
"I have never experienced so much attention for hockey in India. Even German media, which does not care about hockey usually, seemed highly interested in the HIL. So, I think it`s going to be a big step for Indian hockey," Fuerste said.
Fuerste, who was named Euro Hockey League`s most valuable player in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010, said the condition of hockey wasn`t good at all back home and the players were forced to give up the game at the peak of their careers.
"Hockey is not at all important in Germany. Only the top players earn a bit, but it`s not enough to make a living. So, every player is studying or working. That`s why a lot of players had to quit at the age of 28-29 which is a pity," said the 29-year-old, who won the gold medal in 2006 World Cup, 2008 Beijing Olympic and 2012 London Games.
Asked about Germany`s success mantra, Fuerste said, "We have worked very hard over the past years and are focussed on building a strong side and good team spirit. Everyone knows that our emphasis has always been on defending and we keep realising it when we defend. It`s hard to beat us."
Fuerste sees HIL as an opportunity for the old turks to learn a few things from youngsters.
"I see it as a great challenge. I enjoy it so much to play with players I usually fight on the pitch who are now my teammates and I will fight for them this time. That makes it so special. The young Indian players are bringing the perfect spice into the team and some of them are really talented. They will teach us things and we we will try to help them with our experience as much as we can," he signed off.