India ready to take on better teams, says a confident Bansal

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Ipoh, Malaysia, May 11 (UNI) As India bounced back to defeat Canada 3-1 in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today, coach AK Bansal has exuded confidence that his team is ready to take on better teams in the tournament and has asked his forwards be more consistent.

''The team gelled well today against Canada. With this win, we bounced back into the competition at the right time. Now we can take on stronger teams like Pakistan and Malaysia with confidence,'' Bansal said.

''I have been worrying on our forwards who have been wary of circle penetration. they did it and got the rewards,'' he said.

India after losing two matches, were trailing 0-1 against Canada but scored three goals to emerge victorious and the coach said the win to lift the team's morale.

'' At this stage I cannot but be hopeful of good show in the remaining three matches,'' he added.

He was all praise for his young defenders and added that he will continue to give chance to younger players so that everyone gets a fair amount of exposure.

''I am happy the way both young defenders Innocent Kullu and Diwakar Ram played.

''V R Raghunath and Gurwinder Singh Chandi were rested not on form. I want to give everyone exposure. Our target is Junior Asia Cup coming up shortly. At this stage I cannot but be hopeful of good show in the remaining three matches,'' he claimed.

However, Bansal still expects a better showing from his forwards saying, ''My forwards did not seem to have settled down. If they settle sooner that is better. At least they have begun to settle as proved in the Canada match.'' Former India captain and team manager Parget Singh seemed pleased with the team's performance and credited the victory against Canada to the better midfield game.

''Against Argentina, we had a lot of loop holes in the midfield.

We tightened them today, but we have to show consistency also.

''Our aim will be to control the midfield and whenever get a chance go for attack, not going for attack all the time,'' Parget said.

He also chalked a few loop-holes in the team's game where he thinks India still needs improvement.

''One of them is our ball travels slow. Secondly, we are speeding all the time. Against Argentina, I observed Gurbaj Singh was running fast and the team could not follow him. He has to take the team along,'' Parget added.


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