The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 5 , 2013
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Michael praises Sandeep

New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) high performance director Roelant Oltmans said on Tuesday that India players needed to dish out consistent performance to figure among the top three teams in the World Hockey League Round Three.

The India team, which finished 12th among a dozen teams in London Olympics but managed to emerge winners in Round Two on home turf, would leave for the Netherlands on Wednesday to take part in the eight-nation meet.

The top three teams in the tournament will automatically qualify for the World Cup. Led by Sardara Singh, India have been placed in pool B with hosts the Netherlands, New Zealand and Ireland. Australia, Belgium, Spain and France are in the other pool.

Asked whether India could finish in the top three brackets, Oltmans said: “It’s a tough meet but if the players remain confident about their own abilities, then they can do it.”

Chief coach Michael Nobbs said: “Qualifying from this tournament would not be easy. But playing against European teams would also help us to improve.”

A former national coach of the Netherlands and Pakistan, Oltmans said he was happy with the way two of the experienced players – Shivendra Singh and Sandeep Singh – have returned to the India team after their disastrous showings in London.

“We told the boys that no one should take his place in the team for granted… we were very happy with the way Sandeep played in the camp. His attitude is positive and he is eager to learn.

“It always helps when you are not in the team. It tells you that you need to improve in every aspect of the game. Sandeep understood the message and worked hard for success,” said Oltmans.

In the women’s section, India are in pool B with Belgium, Germany and New Zealand. China, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands are in the other group.

India women’s team coach Neil Hawgood admitted that only some dramatic results could see India earning a World Cup berth from this tournament.