February 25, 2010

Every Game is cruicial for us

Indian player Tushar Khandekar says all matches would be crucial for his team in the forthcoming World Cup.

"Every match is important for us, every match is special for us. I don't know why people are just talking about India-Pakistan match," Khandekar said.

"We don't have any additional pressure keeping in mind our first match against Pakistan. Instead we will have the home advantage and support behind us," he added.
India will take on Pakistan in the last match on the opening day of the tournament.
Besides Pakistan, the hosts will also play Australia, South Africa, Spain and England in the other Pool B matches.

"Our preparation is going on in the right direction. We are preparing specific strategies for every team. We have been training hard in the last 10 days.
"In (chief coach Jose) Brasa's guidance, we have been working on our weak points," the midfielder said on the sidelines of a function organised to announce ING Vyasa as a partner of the World Cup.

The national hockey team's preparation in the run-up to the World Cup has been hit hard by captaincy controversy but Khandekar said the episode was a closed chapter and it will have no bearing on the team's chances in the February 28-March 13 tournament.

"Captaincy controversy is over. There is no groupism in the team. We are all united now and we want to win the gold for the country. The mood in the team is very good and the controversy had no impact on us," Khandekar said.
He also rejected theories that with India not playing any international team before the World Cup, the hosts will be underprepared going into the World Cup.

"We would have loved to play against some good teams but it won't make much difference. We played plenty of international games against big teams last year. All these were part of our World Cup preparation," Khandekar said.
Meanwhile, Hockey India president Vidya Stokes allayed the security fears of foreign teams in the wake of the recent terror threats from a militant outfit, saying the government has put in place all the necessary measures for a incident-free World Cup.

"There is no reason to panic. There would be adequate security for all the teams. I would request all the teams to come and play in the tournament in a fearless environment," she said.

Asked about Hockey New Zealand's decision to put on hold its national team's travel plans to India until further advice in the wake of the threat, Stokes said, "We have so far received no official communication from New Zealand that they are coming late.

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