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Long way to go, says Walsh

New Delhi: National coach Terry Walsh feels the Indian team have a long way to go before they can be ranked among the top six nations in world hockey.

“The Indians are well short of the top six teams,” said the Australian coach on Friday, pointing out that India had not beaten teams like Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, England, New Zealand or Spain in any major tournament for a long time.

“Indian players are extremely skilled. They are also very flexible… Perhaps more than Australians or Europeans. But they are also careless at times. They give away the ball in dangerous areas.

“The camp (in Bhopal) was an interesting experience. Now the task before us is to put in place the correct process,” said the Aussie coach.

From the fitness point of view also, the Indians do not figure among the top teams, said Walsh.

“A lot of work has to be done… There is no quick solution. It might take at least 18 months.”

Walsh has recently taken over the reign of India’s chief coach from compatriot Michael Nobbs, whose tenure was cut short after disastrous results, especially in Olympics.

A prolific goalscorer, who played 175 times for Australia, Walsh also holds an impressive track record as a coach. Known as a shrewd strategist, Walsh guided Australia to Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy titles in 1998 and 1999. A year later, he was the coach when the Netherlands bagged the silver at the Athens Olympics.