Indian hockey team has done well in the ongoing Men’s hockey World Cup and that has impressed legendary full-back and former skipper Dilip Tirkey. He rated India’s attacking game as one of the best he has seen.
“I would rate it as a very tough World Cup. Considering the difficulty level, India have performed brilliantly,” Tirkey said during Sports Journalists’ Federation of India’s (SJFI) Young Reporters Programme on Thursday.
“Our team is one of the fittest teams in this World Cup. The way we are attacking, I can rate it as one of the best. Even group tackling, particularly in the match against Canada has been of top quality. Game sense has improved tremendously.
“We have seen a lot of short corner goals while the penetration inside the D has been impressive this World Cup,” Dilip Tirkey stated.
Asked whether Indian team’s style of play altered from the days he played for India, the former skipper said, “Today we are playing total hockey, where a full back is allowed to march forward which gives a lot of liberty to the midfielders and the forwards while during our days the positions were marked. The game has become much more flexible while during my days it was more rigid or traditional.”
Tirkey also praised the Odisha government’s efforts in reviving hockey’s popularity across the length and breadth of the country. “There was a day when no one came to watch hockey matches or for that matter the audience was very much scattered but today the scene in Indian hockey has changed,” he said.
“We are experiencing a dearth of tickets this World Cup and it is all due of the efforts of the Odisha government in promoting the game and the love of the fans that has helped revive the popularity of this great game… The Kalinga Stadium is a world class effort. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has focused and invested a lot on sports, particularly hockey. Kalinga Lancers was the first government-owned franchise in the country, hosting the HWL Finals, then the World Cup, it is getting bigger,” Tirkey added.