India have not won a World Cup medal since winning a gold in the 1975 edition but Tirkey, one of the finest defenders of his time and former captain, said the hosts under Graham Reid can stand on the podium in the ongoing mega-event at home.
Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey on Sunday said India can win a World Cup medal this time after a hiatus of 48 years but for that the home side need to make use of penalty corners. India have not won a World Cup medal since winning a gold in the 1975 edition but Tirkey, one of the finest defenders of his time and former captain, said the hosts under Graham Reid can stand on the podium in the ongoing mega-event at home. “We have fielded the Indian team to win a medal this time, we would want India to be in the medal tally. They are currently playing really well,” Tirkey told PTI in an interview.
“But modern hockey has changed a lot. Penalty corners have become very important. When the penalty corner conversion clicks, most of the time the team wins. We have very good drag flickers and I hope they click in the tournament and win a medal for India. “[Captain] Harmanpreet Singh has been doing very well for the country as a drag flicker though he was not at his best against Spain. So, we are hoping India does well in penalty corners,” said Tirkey, the most capped Indian player [412 matches].
Asked if India can beat the likes of defending champions Belgium and World No.1 Australia, he said, “The team fought against Australia very well in the [five-match] series, they had competed very well. Belgium is also one of the best sides in the world. But India is now in a position to fight against any team in the world on a particular day.” Tirkey, a three-time Olympian, also said that the Hockey India League (HIL) will be revived and the national federation is trying to re-start it by the end of this year.
“Restarting HIL is on the main agenda of Hockey. We are trying to restart it by the end of this year, we are going to find an agency to hold the league on a long-term sustainable basis and also the franchises,” he said. He also said that the World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela will set the benchmark for future host countries of the marque tournament.
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