Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh is a feared name in world hockey today given his lethal pushes from the top of the striking circle more often than not end up in the opponent’s goal.
However, even he knows that it’s not enough to be a drag flicker alone and is instead aiming to improve his all-round hockey skills too. “I am not thinking that I am the best (flicker), I just try to learn new things every day. I never think about the heroes of the drag flick because I don't want to become only the drag flicker,” Sandeep said at the Olympic Village yesterday.
Chief coach Michael Nobbs recently expressed his disappointment in the defender’s tackling abilities and that could be one of the reasons for Sandeep’s recent reaction. “I want to become a complete hockey player, because if you’re just a drag flicker, sometimes you will be out of the team because you’re not performing well,” he added.
World No 10 India have been drawn with defending champions Germany, South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands in Pool B of the group stage of the tournament at the Olympics, and Sandeep being India’s key man, is more than up to the task of delivering the goods for his team.
“My target is to score in every match and every crucial moment,” said Sandeep, who scored five times in the final of the six-nation Olympic Qualifier tournament against France in New Delhi earlier this year. Having been eight times Olympic gold medallists until 1980, India lost the qualifier in 2008 and missed playing in the Olympics for the first time in eight decades.
Skipper and goalkeeper Bharat Chetri instead preferred to look forward to another interesting chapter that also has a bit of history to it. He believed London could be lucky for India just as it was in 1948 when the country won the Olympic hockey gold here. “In 1948 in London we won the gold medal. Now we have come to London again and our dream is to rewrite the history books just like our senior players did here,” he said. — Agencies