Former India player VR Raghunath claims that with the team’s world-class backline, the team can compete for a medal in the Olympics next year. He also asserted the quality that good drag-flickers bring into the side.
Raghunath proclaimed that having four penalty takers in the side bodes well in their pursuit of a medal after having last won one in 1980.
India yearns for a medal after a set of poor returns from the global event in recent times. The team reached a new low in 2012 after failing to qualify for the event. However, this time around, Raghunath claims that all the experience earned by the backline over the years will come to fruition. He said:
“They are very experienced and the current set of defenders have about 50-80 caps together. They know each other very well and I don’t see them having any problems even when they are put in a tough match-situation against any top team in the world,”
Raghunath, being a flicker during his time added that Harmanpreet Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh are vital cogs in the team. He also praised the other options that are available for the team. He said:
“Having two top drag flickers who can play a full match is an advantage for India. Both Harmanpreet (Singh) and Rupinder (Pal Singh) are equally good and they have completely different execution and qualities. Having various options and combinations in drag flick is always good.”
“Plus, India has good options in Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas who can be a great support when one of the two top flickers are having a rough day,”
Raghunath’s ideal approach and take on mental health
With the Tokyo Olympics being postponed to 2021, Raghunath believes that the team should make a fresh start heading into the multi-nation event. The 31-year-old feels that the team have a better chance of performing well at the Olympics if they forget what has happened and start afresh instead. He said:
“The six-week break was ideal for the players to return to the national camp feeling fresh. The Indian team’s fitness is top class and they will continue to build on this plus point the next one year but having the right mindset in their approach and staying mentally positive will be very important.”
The flicker concluded by stating that the team should be physically and mentally ready since the last 6-8 months go by quickly.
”How the players cope mentally in this new scenario, how they approach every day mentally and once they start training and playing matches, how they will cope with the pressure and the results will matter a lot,” he said.
“Usually in the lead up to the Olympics, the last 6-8 months pass by really fast and the team must be absolutely prepared physically and mentally.”
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