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Hockey World Cup: Dhanraj Pillay lashes out at Terry Walsh and Co over India's poor show

Mumbai: Former India skipper Dhanraj Pillay today said he was disappointed with India's performance in the ongoing hockey World Cup at The Hague and called for sacking of foreign experts including coach Terry Walsh.

"World cup has been a failure for us. We have an high performance director (Roelant Oltmans) and Terry Walsh who has been there since past eight months. I don't think their services have benefited the Indian team," he told reporters here.

India managed to draw 1-1 with Spain yesterday after losing the first two games against Belgium and England. "Nowadays we are losing even against teams like Belgium. If an Indian was coach, then he would know as to how to motivate and strategise during matches. We should have won all the matches but lost in the last minute. Walsh stated that we are lucky to get a point. I feel this is a sad attitude for a coach," he further said.

He pointed out that there is a bias in selection as Sandeep Singh was ignored for the World Cup, despite proving his merit in the Hockey India League. "Sandeep Singh has been the highest scorer in the Hockey India League, despite that he hasn't found a place in the Indian team and has been dropped on the basis of his performance. Even a non-playing player can comment on the performance on Sandeep.

I believe there is a case of bias against Sandeep," he said. Dhanraj though praised captain Sardar Singh and goalkeeper Sreejesh for their performance and said that they are the only two stand-out players. "I can only see Sardar performing and in the previous match Sreejesh played really well. It is because of him we saved so many goals, otherwise they would have knocked in 8-9 goals. The gameplan employed by Sreejesh is very good but we are out of the semifinals," he said.

India failed to convert penalty corners which cost them dearly and Pillay was also scathing in his comments against Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra. "I have been reiterating that Sandeep Singh is India's top penalty corner specialist. Narinder Batra should see who is a good or bad player and accordingly should select a team. It is not a team consisting of your family members, the whole world has eyes on the Indian team. The federation should think they can take decisions on their own," he said.

"Narinder Batra used to say KPS Gill is a dictator and a one man army, I feel as of today he is working as a dictator and is only bothered about the Hockey India League and is not bothered about the performance of the national team," he added. Pillay is not in favour of a foreign coach for Indian hockey and insists that there is no dearth of good coaches in the country. "I feel all foreign experts should be removed.

When you appointed them keeping in mind the national team's performance but since the past one and a half year, we have fared poorly. Earlier also we had foreign coaches and paid them huge money only to see the state of hockey stagnate. Indian coaching standards are higher than them. "Till 2004, our standard was very good. Now we are taught how to play hockey sitting in front of a laptop.

They teach more on the laptop rather on the hockey turf. I am not against the foreigners. But let them perform. They are not in demand in their own country," he said. Asked about Indian coaches like M K Kaushik and Harendra Singh, he said, "all these players have been coaching India for a long time, now let someone new take over the reigns. And all these old players should rest and play with their grandchildren and should (not) knock the doors of the Hockey India. Many of them are ready to work for free but not me...

When you can give Rs 9 lakh to a foreign coach, then why not to an Indian coach." Pillay also said that the game has changed over the years but Indian players have displayed skills only in the central line. "Hockey has changed but we have skills in the 25 yard area. We need to show our skills in the 25 yard line but we see their skills in the central line. No doubt Terry Walsh was a great player and played the best hockey for his country but you need to perform as coach," he said.

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