26 May 2015, New Delhi: Post the Indian Men Hockey team being announced for the upcoming FIH World League Semi-Final scheduled in Belgium from 20th June – 5th July 2015, Chief Coach Paul van Ass spoke on the team combination and his expectations from the upcoming tournaments while Sardar Singh spoke on the learning’s under the new Chief Coach.
Speaking on the team selection Chief Coach Paul van Ass said “The squad was announced today and the changes in composition of the team is to try out different variations and how the team performs if put in a new situation. Rupinder Pal Singh is not part of the squad for the World League Semi Finals and the line of thought with this is to see how the team can perform and adopt to different situations. If we have the opportunity to try new combinations then it is good to try something different now when we have time rather than being stuck in a situation where we wouldnt have the time to try this kind of a variation. Also I am opting for new athleticism in that position while I understand we have one drag flicker less, we have to understand that it is selection time and you have to be the best you can be, while you also have to fit in to the tactical plan of the coach”.
Speaking on Jasjit and Yuvraj he commented “Jasjit he is a good player, quick on his feet and a very good passer. Yuvraj played great in the Japan Series and he has to continue to prove himself to remain in contention for the future”.
Speaking on the approach for forthcoming tournaments he added “The selection of this squad is keeping in mind the best possible team that we can create for the upcoming tournaments. RIO is the second step, the first will be the FIH World League Final to be played in India in December”.
Speaking on the young players “The plan of course is to create a bench strength but the players left out from this squad are not gone, we have a new core group of 33 players and from that group I can pick players and try new variations. This will keep players on their toes and they know thay have to keep fighting for a position in the team and this will continue until RIO”.
Speaking on National Championship the Chief Coach said “I have kept an eye on Akash Chikte. I like him because of his moves and his reaction time. He has to train a lot as for today he lacks knowledge in terms of what to do and when to do. But his strength is his reaction time and this quality in him gives me the confidence that we can build him up. I think we need to give the youngsters time and they will come up”.
Speaking on the training under Chief Coach Paul van Ass, Captain Sardar Singh said “We are making changes to our style of play. While we have always played 5 on attack and 5 on defence, resulting in the mid field position missing. But now the coach is teaching us to inculcate a new style where we will attack with 10 and defend with 10 and which helps us strengthen our play and position. We are even trying new team combinations where we are allowing all players to play in different positions and in different roles”.