Selector’s comments were demoralising: Dilip Tirkey

February 11th, 2009 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Former India captain and one of the most durable hockey players Dilip Tirkey Wednesday said he was “hurt” by remarks of a national selector over his utility in the national team.
Tirkey said he was more distressed by the remark of an Olympian and now a selector, at a time when the Indian team was trying its best to perform in a major international tournament at home.

National selector Aslam Sher Khan kicked up a controversy in the midst of the Punjab Gold Cup in Chandigarh, when he said the tournament was the last chance for the senior players to prove themselves.

Tirkey, Arjun Hallapa, Deepak Thakur and Vikram Pillay were the seniors in the Indian team which finished runners-up to European champions the Netherlands in the four-nation meet.

“Naturally, I was hurt. If you have to hear such things after playing all these years for the country, it is very demoralising,” Tirkey told IANS before leaving for Australia for a two-match series.

“It was also very demoralising for the team if these sort of comments come in the middle of a tournament when the team is doing good. The team loses its focus.”

Tirkey, who was coming back after a four-month injury lay-off, said the quality of a player does not change overnight.

“A good player will always be a good player. It could be fitness problems or injuries due to which he may be rusty. But the quality remains the same. If a player is injured, give him the chance to prove his fitness; if he does not perform, then question his commitment,” said the most capped player in the world.

The 31-year-old Olympian said he was in good shape and will continue playing till his body permits.

“I am fit and fine at the moment. I would like to continue playing for some more time, if I am able to maintain my fitness level.”

Tirkey said the Indian team’s performance in the Punjab Gold Cup has come at the right time.

“Our goal was to reach the final and though we could not win, we are happy to live up to our own expectations. But we have to improve a lot and need to be more consistent. The good thing was that we played attacking hockey. The midfield and central defence was also up to the mark.”

Tirkey said the focus is now on the Australia series followed by another four-match series in New Zealand.

“There are many important tournaments this year and we have to be on our toes. We have to improve with every match.”

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