Indian drag-flick specialist VR Raghunath has given credits to Hockey India and coach Roelant Oltmans for the new-look professional approach of the Indian team and its good performances. He also revealed how planned team activities have played a major role in the team's improvement.
Gone are those days when Indian hockey team failed to pose any challenge to the big teams. With a new-look approach, they have shown remarkable poise to challenge any team in the world. With Hockey India bringing in a much more professional outlook to the management of the national team, they have seen a steady rise in their performance. Indian defender and drag-flick specialist VR Raghunath yesterday reiterated the impact of these measures.
VR Raghunath said, "If the player knows he has a strong backing, obviously he goes that extra yard to perform better,” reported ToI.
"Earlier, we had to do most of the stuff ourselves. But that isn't the case anymore. Everything is in place before we regroup for a camp or are going to play tournaments abroad. We can completely focus on training and our matches," said Raghunath who had led India in Australia recently.
Speaking about the transformation and the impact of coach Roelant Oltmans, Raghunath said, "Since the time Roelant Oltmans has come in, the mindset has become very professional. He has divided the team into three groups and has appointed a team leader. The team leader will pass on the instructions to his team. The coach basically communicates with the team leaders and the team leader subsequently, passes on the instructions to his team.”
The introduction of team activity has also been very beneficial. The whole bunch travels together, trains together, eats together. This has allowed us to bond extremely well off the field. When we are relaxed off the field, obviously our effort shows on the field."
The Indian team has can’t easily be taken for granted anymore but Raghunath called for more consistency from the team.
“We are defeating big teams but we need to be a little more consistent. Fitness wise we are right up there. But if we start defeating the big teams in big tournaments it will be very good. We are currently No. 6 in the world. Our aim is to come in the top four," Raghunath concluded.