Former hockey player Dhanraj Pillay
Former hockey player Dhanraj Pillay

Dhanraj Pillay bats for improving rural setup to nurture upcoming players

ANI | Updated: Jul 26, 2019 12:45 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 26 (ANI): Former Indian hockey team skipper Dhanraj Pillay has emphasised on the betterment of rural setup to find and nurture more players in the sporting circle and showed faith in current hockey team to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"If more players are to be found and nurtured in the sporting circle, rural setup needs to be improved. No doubt, players from big cities get opportunities faster. But the rural setup has always given us great players. Players hailing from small towns make the most out of the given opportunity. I truly believe our hockey team will qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics," Pillay told ANI.
The 51-year-old Olympian labelled the current men's hockey team led by Manpreet Singh as quite balanced, and he went on to add that the team needs to get more consistent in order to showcase winning performances.
"Our hockey team is quite balanced. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. The opponent also comes out to win. There's no need to lose hope if you are not able to win the Cup," Pillay said.
"I believe consistency should be the key for this hockey team. Players should be focused towards the particular tournament they have gone to participate in," he added.
Pillay opined that players who were dropped from the FIH World Cup in 2018, should be told the reason behind their omission from the squad. He also urged Harmanpreet Singh to convert goals from inside the penalty box.
"The players who were dropped from the World Cup, tell them why were they not given an opportunity. The players will learn from this experience and they will prove to be an asset," Pillay said.
"I request Harmanpreet to convert goals from the penalty box. I urge the side to show team spirit. We have been conceding goals in the last minute, we need to stay precise in that time to avoid last-minute goals," he added.
When asked whether the former hockey player would enter politics, he replied: "politics is not for me, I will continue to work for hockey and sport in the country". (ANI)