India have mastered the art of converting penalty corners: Bansal

July 18th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
Hyderabad, July 18 (IANS) Jubilant after winning the junior Asia Cup hockey title Friday, coach A.K. Bansal said India now has the world’s best drag-flickers in Diwakar Ram and Sandep Singh around. Diwakar, who scored 11 goals in five matches in the tournament, was awarded the trophy for the the top-scorer in the eight-nation tournament. He was also the hero in the final against South Korea, as with his brace India came back after trailing 0-2 to retain the title 3-2.

“In the last four international tournaments, Indian drag-flickers have emerged the top scorers. We can now say that India no more lag behind when it comes to converting penalty corners. We have indeed mastered it,” Bansal said.

Sandeep Singh was the top scorer for the senior team in Azlan Shah while Diwakar was the same in the eight-nation tournaments in Germany and Kuala Lumpur.

“This victory was very important to us. And the fact that it came right after the Azlan Shah Cup shows that we are on the right track.”

“Diwakar has been exceptional in the tournament. He is cool under pressure but a lot of credit goes to the forward line who create those chances for Diwakar. S.V. Sunil and Gurwinder Singh Chandi were brilliant as they created the opportunity for the golden goal.”

Bansal said his heart was pounding after India trailed 0-2.

“We bounced back strongly in the second half. I was very anxious and thought that we lost the match. But after we equalised, I was confident that the boys will pull it through.”

Diwakar said it was his best performance in the career.

“I scored four goals in Azlan Shah and that gave me enough confidence. It was very important for me to perform here. This is the best I have played so far,” he said.

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