Mumbai: Notwithstanding the absence of a regular national hockey coach since the exit of Australia's Terry Walsh, selector Arjun Halappa sounded upbeat here about the Indian squad's future following its good show over the last year-and-a-half.
"Some things are not in our control. We should not take it in a negative way. Indian hockey has been doing very well in the past 11 to 18 months. These things will be taken care of by the administrators. Let's be positive," said Halappa who is representing Dabang Mumbai as a player in the Hockey India League (HIL).
He also said that Indian captain Sardar Singh is there to see first hand the home country talent on hand in HIL along with selectors and interim coach Roelant Oltmans who is also Director, High Performance at Hockey India.
"Roelant (Oltmans) is there. We are there. Sardar is there leading a side (Delhi Waveriders)," he pointed out.
Halappa said the Test series win over Australia Down Under, a first for Indian hockey (after winning the Asian Games gold for the first time after 1998 to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games), augured well.
"As Hockey India selector I can say we have beaten Australia in Australia in the Test series. That jinx has been broken. We had never done that before. These things are getting better.
"We can't straightaway say we are becoming world no. 1. It's a step by step process. (Junior) Players like Harmanpreet and Santa Singh can get lot of positives from this league," he said.
Halappa said he keeps his selector's hat behind when he takes part in HIL as a player.
"It's a new challenge and I have to fight for my place. I am putting in my effort. I can see some players also while they train and play and their approach. But right now I am enjoying as a player. If I get into the selector's mode, the players will be too reluctant to speak to me," he said.
Halappa, who was part of champion outfit Delhi last
year, said his new team - Dabang Mumbai - looked good on paper and the players were gelling well, while adding that the proof of the pudding would be how it performs on the pitch.
"On paper it looks really good, but let's see how we perform on the pitch. It's a mix of different cultures and there are a lot of different emotions. Things are looking positive.
"I have been speaking to a few guys like (Australian Glenn) Turner. They said compared to last year the planning and approach looks different," he remarked.
Asked about the success mantra in HIL, Halappa said, "A good mix of Indian and foreign players playing together well, that makes the difference."
"Indians are very skillful, Australians are aggressive and very fast, Europeans are tactically good. Everything has to fall into place," he added.