Sardar has been a consistent performer for India and bagged the Player of the Tournament award in the team’s Olympic Qualifier-winning campaign in New Delhi earlier this year. The 26-year-old also remains the only Indian player to make it to the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) All Star Team twice in succession.
Yesterday Sardar was adjudged man of the match as well as Player of the Tournament for his stellar role in the midfield. This was the second time in succession that the deputy Superintendent of Haryana Police had bagged the best player’s award at the annual fixture in Malaysia having done so in India’s Azlan Shah Cup-winning campaign last year too.
However, often, as was evident in India’s 3-1 Azlan Shah bronze medal-winning performance against Great Britain yesterday, there seems to be too much dependence on the star medio. And coach Michael Nobbs, did not shy away from admitting this.
“Yes... I know this (there can be an over-reliance on Sardar at times) and it’s taken a while for me to get him to play the style I am after. But we must also remember that in this tournament we were not able to try out the alternatives that we have been working on as we are still trying out various players before we pick the team for the Olympics. So, we are adjusting our style of play against various teams,” Nobbs told MiD DAY moments after the victory yesterday.