The emergence of a number of penalty corner specialists in the national team gives India an edge over the other sides, according to former hockey captain Sandeep Singh, who knows the “difficult art” of drag-flicking like the back of his hands.
The Birmingham Commonwealth Games-bound Indian team has as many as three specialist drag-flickers in Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas.
And with junior players like Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Sudeep Chirmako waiting in the wings, India are well placed as far as the penalty corner department is concerned.
Drag-flick is a difficult art which takes years of practice to master. It is a very technical thing, where besides brute power, you need fast hands and quick bodyweight transfer, said Sandeep.
Having options in drag-flick gives any team an advantage and we are lucky that we have many penalty corner specialists in the team now. It adds variety. Harmanpreet is a world-class flicker, added Sandeep, who is nicknamed Flicker Singh’ for his exploits with the goal-scoring technique during his playing days.
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Sandeep, a fiery drag-flicker in his heydays, said the current national team under Manpreet Singh has the wherewithal to break its gold medal jinx at the Birmingham Games, starting next month.
Since hockey’s introduction in the CWG schedule in 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition, Australia has swept all the six gold medals. India’s best results are two silver medals in the 2010 edition at home and 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Indian hockey has made tremendous progress. The bronze medal in Tokyo was just the fillip the game needed to revive its past glory, Sandeep told PTI in an exclusive interaction from the Indian Sports Fan Award 2022, where newly-elected Rajya Sabha member and veteran sports promoter Kartikeya Sharma was honoured with the recognition.
If you ask me I firmly believe we can win a gold in this Commonwealth Games.
In today’s hockey there is hardly any gap between the top 5 world teams. If we play to our potential and plan, we can stop Australia’s dominance in the CWG this time, added the player-turned-politician, who was part of the 2010 CWG silver medal-winning squad.
Sandeep said the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics after four decades and continuous upward movement in world hockey after that under chief coach Graham Reid has instilled self-belief and confidence among the Indian players.
He said the foundation of the game is strong in the country now.
The medal at Tokyo is just what Indian hockey needed. Look at our bench strength now, we have a main team, an A team and junior side. So, there is no dearth of quality players, said Sandeep, who is the Haryana Sports Minister.
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