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Sports Interview
India has Very good chance to win Asia Cup : Probodh Tirkey
By Gulrej Ahmad  Published on: 27-Oct-2011 10:48:36
Place: Bangalore
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Prabodh Tirkey is probably having the greatest time of his life. The cool and soft spoken boy from Orissa has played a stellar role to bag bronze medals in two successive tournaments — The Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in May and the Champions Challenge in Belgium early this month.

When this 22 year old star traps the ball and begins to run, it spells a thunder and fear among the best of defenders of world hockey. This man has the responsibility to defend the Asia cup in his own land.

Now a days he is very busy in making Indian hockey team to continue their good performance. He however has spent some time to chat with us.

In an Exclusive interview with's Sports editor Gulrej Ahmed the Indian Hockey Captain, prabodh Tirkey spelled out team's strategy and India's chances in the forthcoming Asia cup in Chennai.

Here are the excerpts of the interview.

Gulrej: Congratulations for being appointed Captain of Indian Hockey Team for Asia Cup.

prabodh : Thank you very much.

Gulrej: Due to extra responsibility of captaincy, are you feeling any extra pressure for the Asia Cup?

prabodh : I am very happy for the captaincy. I dont feel any extra pressure at all after taking responsibility of captaincy. I am enjoying my self both as the captain and the player of the team.

Prior to this tournament the team tasted some success and won bronze in both Azlanshah Cup and Champions Challenge under my captaincy. I have also good experience of leading the country in junior level so I am not feeling any pressure. I am trying to play in cool and relaxed mind so that I can lead the team successfully.

Gulrej: As you have tasted recent success in Azlanshah Cup and Champions Challenge, will there be any extra pressure this time on the team as the expectation from the team is high?

prabodh : In Azlan Shah Cup we had 6-7 youngsters in the team, they had performed well and gained good international experience. After the recent success, the expectation from the team will be high. Adding to it the Asia cup is going to be played in India, so there will be little bit pressure on the team to perform well and to win the Cup.

As I have already told you our players gained good international experience and the coach is also doing hard work. The coach made us as a combined force, so I think the team could easily tackle the pressure of playing in home turf very well.

Gulrej: You are playing in home turf. So do you think you have any advantage?

prabodh : You are right. we are playing in our own ground, there will be familliar conditions and above all we will get huge support from our fans, so all these factors may help us in one way or other. In international matches every home team enjoys these conditions. It is a part of game, but as I have told earlier it has also negative effects of high expectations and huge pressure.

Whatever it may be we have to play really good hockey to win matches and my team is very confident to display good hockey irrespective of conditions and home advantage. Our main aim is to play good attacking hockey through out the trouney.

Gulrej: What kind of challenge are you expecting in Asia Cup in Chennai?

prabodh : First match will be very crucial in the tournament. If we will win the first match with big marging we have a very good chance to win the Cup. All are very good teams in our pool. Pakisthan is also in our pool so there will be good contest among all the teams. In last two tournaments we had a very good overall performance and expecting even better in Asia Cup.

Gulrej: What will be the main strategy of the team in the Asia Cup?

prabodh : We have decided to play attacking hockey right from the beginning so that we can dominate the game as early as possible and push the opposition on the back foot. Subsequently we can control the game very well.

Gulrej: India have been consistenly poor in converting the penalty corners into goals. How will you tackle this problem?

prabodh : In the match against Argentina, in Champions challenge we missed few penalty corners.We learnt a lot from the past mistakes and now we are paying special attention to it. We have practiced a lot to rectify those mistakes in converting penalty corners into goals.

Moreover we have penalty cornor specialist Raghunath, who is doing very good job in his specialisation. I believe our conversion rate will be high in this Asia Cup.

Gulrej: One more difficulty we have is Indian team always conceedes lot of goals in dying moment of the game, any special attention to this weakness?

prabodh : We have very good bowling talent in the state, only thing we have to do is nurse them at proper time and proper stage and give them opportunity to prosper. Earlier we used to face this problem, but in last two tournaments we had given special attention towards this and improved a lot.

We have making strategies like, keeping the ball in our control and releases the ball as soon as possible in the dying moments of the game.

We are also focusing on scooping the ball at dying moment to kill the time provided we are in good position. In the last two tournaments also we have not concceded any goal in the dying moments.

Gulrej: Pakistan is also figured in our pool in Asia Cup and any match against Pakistan arouses patriotic passion. Any special strategy for Pakistan match?

prabodh : Pakistan is also a good team, but our chances are more against them and as always our fans will be crazy to watch the game with patriotic passion.We have designed our strategy for the whole tournament.

Gulrej: Are you satisfied with the training camp?

prabodh : Yes, I am absolutely satisfied, all the players are looking forward to take the challenge.

Gulrej: What are our chances in the Asia Cup?

prabodh : I think the main competition wil be among the four teams Malasiya, India, Pakisthan and Korea to clinch the trophy. As one defeat is enough to put any team on the back foot so we need to win from the first match itself to boost up our confidence.

So far as our chances in the Asia Cup is concern, I must say that we have a very good chance to win the trophy, because recently we have played well and all our players are fit. After many years, we have a good team in place. We have a mixture of young and experienced players. we have also a very good defence lineup headed by experienced Dillip Tirkey, in forward we have very good players like Tushar Khandekar, Rajpal Singh and Prabhjot Singh who can breach opposition defence at any time to score goals.

Joaquim Sir works hard and his presence inspires the players to give their best. As we are playing in home turf, the audience support will be there with us. All these factors making me confident enough to lift the trophy this time as like the 2003 edition.

Gulrej: Prabodh at last, diverting from Asia cup I would like to know that what according to you should be the media's role in popularing Hockey in the country and what do you want to say about th movie Chak de India which is based on the Indian hockey. Will it help in popularising hockey?

prabodh : Media has a great role to play for popularising hockey in the country. Except media coverage the bolloywood have also come forward to make a film like Chak de India. I believe this kind of movies are going to inspire young hockey players in the country. It will definitely help to promote Indian hockey and there is a big possibility that youngsters develop interest in playing hockey after watching the film. The movie will be a good boost to promote the sport in India.

Gulrej: Thanks you very much for talking to us and all the best for the coming season. We wish Indian should clinch the trophy.

prabodh : Thank you and wish all the best to all the members of 'Odishatoday'

India has Very good chance to win Asia Cup : Probodh Tirkey

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