The Telegraph
Sunday , April 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Policeman Sandeep feels like a ‘criminal’

New Delhi: For hockey star Sandeep Singh, scoring goals from drag flicks is all about thinking ahead of others.

“While taking a penalty corner, I always know the goalkeeper and defenders have seen the video clippings of my game hundreds of times and have their plots ready to foil me. It feels like policemen chasing criminals. It’s like a cat and mouse game. I enjoy it,” the ace drag flicker told The Telegraph, on Saturday.

For the record, Sandeep is a Deputy Superintendent of Police with the Haryana Police.

Sandeep, who along with Sardar Singh and Shivendra Singh signed up as the brand ambassador of Jaypee Greens, said his performance in the qualifiers that fetched him 16 goals and an Olympic spot for India, earlier this year, would have to be improved vastly in the run-up to the London Games.

“I am practising at least three more variations of drag flicking, which that I would not like to discuss in detail,” Sandeep said. “Hockey India (HI) has given me an iPod, which has the recordings of all my goals in the past couple of years. I sit down with the video analyst on a regular basis and try to find out how my performance can be improved,” he said.

Sandeep is a big fan of some other top drag flickers like German Christopher Zeller, Taeke Taekema of the Netherlands and Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas but he doesn’t consider them as role models.

“They are all great penalty corner specialists but I have my own style and I want to excel at that. The goalkeepers today are so well protected and are so well-equipped that one needs to find his own unique style to succeed at the international level,” he said.

Sandeep also supports HI’s decision to play the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, beginning in Malaysia from May 24 with the senior team. “The biggest advantage is that we will get an opportunity to play on the blue turf as a similar track would be used in London,” he said.

Though teams like Australia, Germany or Spain are currently ruling the world hockey, Sandeep takes the matches against Pakistan most seriously. “In 2010 Commonwealth Games, we beat Pakistan 7-4 I think it was one of the best moments of my life. It was an extremely satisfactory win,” said the defender.

Sandeep does not regret missing the chance of playing in the cash rich World Series Hockey (WSH). “This year is the Olympic year and that should be our focus,” he said.