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Manpreet looks at the positives

Calcutta: For Indian hockey, the rise of Manpreet Singh has been one of the positives in recent years. The junior national team captain, who has sealed a place for himself in the senior team over the past three years, has become a pillar of strength in the midfield.

A part of the Ranchi Rhinos team in the Hockey India League, Manpreet maint1ained that India’s performance in the recently-concluded Hockey World League Final in Delhi was not as dismal as it seemed.

“Yes, the 2-7 scoreline against Australia was very bad. But we did have our moments. We drew and then won against the Olympic champions Germany. We learnt a lot during the tournament,” he said.

Manpreet added that the Indian team was going through a phase of rebuilding with new chief coach Terry Walsh. “He is new and he is trying to enhance the positives of Indian hockey. He is emphasising on our skills, and improving drag flicks,” he said.

Asked whether the Indian team’s fitness is a cause for concern, as Walsh has repeatedly said, Manpreet said Walsh was helping the players to improve their fitness. He added the inclusion of Vasudevan Baskaran as assistant coach has helped the players.

His fellow Rhinos, Ashley Jackson from England, is all for leagues like the HIL. “See, what I earn from playing for the national team in England cannot be enough for me to live by. The HIL allows me to remain a professional player without having to look for other jobs to survive,” he said.