We need to combine smart work with hard work: Sandeep
Despite India's good showing at Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, leading goal-scorer and drag-flicker Sandeep Singh feels Indian hockey has to go through a tough road before it can reclaim its lost glory.
"It is my gut feeling that there is good time ahead. Yet, we cannot afford to rest and we have to sweat it out to regain our lost glory. I would say in present time, we need to combine smart work with hard work," Sandeep said.
He said the team needed to work on its weak areas, like the forward line and defence.
"I feel many times we do all the hard work, but in the absence of smart work we do not get the desired results," he said, adding "the team needs to win consistently before they can pose any serious challenge to top teams like Australia, Germany and Holland."
Sandeep made a strong comeback after being out of action due to a bullet injury sustained about two years in a freak accident and later not finding a place in the team on account of the selectors' apathy.
He said it will take some time for Indian hockey to regain its lost glory, "though our recent performance is a step forward in revival of the game."
"I don't think you can expect the team to start beating top teams straightaway. But I will say our performance in the Azlan Shah Cup has boosted our morale, especially it has done a world of good to the youngsters," he said.
"I know we could have done better (in Azlan Shah Cup). Maybe, we lacked some experienced forwards," the lanky penalty corner specialist said.
Sandeep said he was enjoying his role as a full back, where he had been playing after coming back from injury.
"I am enjoying playing as a full back and I would like to continue in this position," said Sandeep.
Last year, Sandeep made waves in highly-competitive German League emerging as the leading goal-scorer for his club Frankenthall. This year, he also hit headlines for his good showing the annual Premier Hockey League.