Indian hockey team needs to be ‘psychologically strong’ to win crunch games, says former skipper Dilip Tirkey | Hockey News – Times of India

BHUBANESWAR (Odisha): Former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey feels the Indian team have to work on mental toughness to become “psychologically” strong in order to win the crunch encounters in the big tournaments.
Earlier this week, India came back from behind to beat arch-rivals Pakistan in the third-place match in the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka. However, India, the defending champions had lost the intensely-fought semi-final match against Japan days after thrashing the Asian side 6-0 in the continental tournament.
Dilip Tirkey said India might have been a little casual after a resounding win against Japan and weren’t able to unleash their true potential in the must-win clash.
“The Indian team needs to be psychologically strong. In the league match, we defeated Japan, and then to lose to the same squad in the semi-finals shows the casual behaviour of the side,” Dilip Tirkey told ANI on the sidelines of the ongoing fourth National Para-Badminton Championship here in Bhubaneswar.
“I feel the team might have been a little casual after registering a thumping win over Japan and weren’t able to perform according to their potential,” he added.
The Indian men’s hockey team brought glory to the country when they ended a 41-year Olympic medal drought after defeating Germany 5-4 at the Tokyo Games to win the bronze medal in August this year.
The former Indian captain believes the Tokyo bronze has instilled confidence in the Indian hockey team and the squad should continue playing the attacking game.
“It was definitely a historic feat. Not only did the men’s team win our hearts, the women’s team too performed well. They didn’t win but it was a remarkable achievement to reach the top four,” said the former skipper.
“There is a special craze for hockey in India. Performances can dip sometimes but I feel after winning the bronze medal there is a newfound confidence in the men’s hockey team. The Tokyo bronze has instilled confidence in players too. Now the Indian team is playing the attacking game freely and they must continue to do so in the future,” he added.
With less than one year to go for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, Dilip Tirkey is confident that the Indian team will perform well in the upcoming tournaments. The Men’s Hockey World Cup is also slated to be held in Bhubaneshwar in 2023.
“Team is playing well and is focusing on fitness and I am confident that the Indian team will perform well in the upcoming tournaments,” said.

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