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Hockey World Cup 2018: Speed has taken over skills in hockey, says Dhanraj Pillay

Dhanraj Pillay

Bengaluru, November 28: Dhanraj Pillay, inarguably the first poster boy of Indian hockey, believes the game has evolved a lot with skills being sacrificed for the sake of the speed.

The former Indian captain, who represented the country at four FIH World Cups opined that modern-day hockey is more technology driven.

"In my days the players were more skillful, but today the Indian hockey team is competing with the best in both fitness and speed. A lot of new equipment has come in. I have seen these young players use chips to see how many kilometers they have run. All this was not there during my time. Today's game is more machine-based, it's laptop hockey," said Pillay on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

Pillay sounded sceptical on the impact of technology.

""We are adopting this quickly but how far will this take us, or how successful it'll be for us, I cannot say because you know in our country hockey players are not that educated."

As India begin their campaign on Wednesday (November 28) against South Africa, Pillay had words of encouragement for the Manpreet Singh-led team and believes a podium finish for the squad coached by Hardendra Singh would do wonders for the overall confidence of the team in the long run.

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"I have been saying since the 1990s that Indian hockey needs one big victory, either in the World Cup or the Olympics," said Pillay.

"If we finish at the podium in this World Cup, hockey in India will go somewhere it has never gone before. It will rise to the next level.

"Hockey players will also be recognised everywhere. All these players can become household names, and they have a great opportunity to do that," he added.

The 50-year-old also as come out in support of former captain Sardar Singh, who was left out of the World Cup squad. Miffed with the omission, the 32-year-old midfielder called it quits.

"If Dhanraj can play an Olympics at 37, why can't Sardar play a World Cup at 32. I feel his experience in the midfield could have been crucial. Now you just have to play four quarters of 15 minutes each. He could have easily played 8-9 minutes each quarter. He was also among the fittest members in the team," added Pillay.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 11:11 [IST]
    Other articles published on Nov 28, 2018
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