New Delhi, Nov 2: Sardar Singh could not remember how many times he has been adjudged the best player in final during an international tournament in the last 10 years of his career.
The ace Indian hockey player, while speaking over phone from New Delhi on Tuesday (Nov 1), smilingly said, “I can only say that my performance in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey is the best in last six years.”
Sardar, the 30-year old centre half, was consistent throughout the tournament in Malaysia.
Especially, in the all-important semi-final against South Korea, he was simply mesmerising.
The Dutch coach of Indian team Roelant Oltmans opined that it was Sardar whose brilliant show steered India to make the scoreline 2-2 and Men In Blue, eventually, won the match in the penalty shoot-out.
Sardar also seems content for being consistent in the semi-final.
He said, “Yes, the opportunity I set after dribbling past couple of defenders and passed the ball to Ramandeep Singh who levelled the scoreline.”
When asked about the reason behind his excellent form, the former Indian skipper replied, “One of the key factors was that I changed my position on the field. I was being played as striker throughout Rio Olympics. But it was difficult for me to adjust playing in that position. So, in the national preparatory camp before Asian Champions Trophy, following discussion with coach, I again returned to midfield, the position where I have been playing for the last 10 years.”
Sardar also had a lot of praise for the junior players like Nikkin, Akashdeep, Affan Yusuf, and Akash Chikhte.
He said, “They can easily be called the future of senior Indian team. Before every match in Malaysia, I sat with them. I used to advise them not to look at me on the field. Rather, I asked them to find out the free space into the opposition’s defence, assuring them that I would send the pass there. And all of them, especially Nikkin and Akashdeep were very consistent throughout the tournament.”