A livid national hockey captain Sardar Singh on Wednesday said that Indian players need to work on their consitency sooner if they harbour any desire to be a potent force in the world circuit again.
India lost out on a golden chance to qualify for the next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands by finishing a lowly sixth in the just-concluded eight-nation World League Round 3.
"We didn't start well in any of the matches. We played well for 5 minutes and then allowed the opposition to dominate us for the next 10 minutes. We were inconsistent throughout the tournament. We didn't play total hockey for the entire 70 minutes in any of the matches," a fuming Sardar told PTI in an interview today.
The skipper was also upset with sudden dip in form of the drag-flick specialists.
"With Sandeep Singh, Rupinderpal Singh and V R Raghunath in the side, we were rated as one of the strongest outfits when it comes to conversion of drag-flicks but we failed to covert chances in Rotterdam. In every match, we got 5-6 penalty corners but failed to utilise them," he sounded upset.
"The entire team is very upset with the performance because were were in high spirits going into the tournament. We all were confident of a good result,"
"But we had a terrible start to the tournament. We needed to win the first game against Ireland but we surprisingly couldn't although we were favourites coming into the match. It severely hurt us," he said.
The skipper said India played total hockey in patches throughout the tournament and it didn't help their cause.
Sardar said India faltered in all departments of the game in Rotterdam and it's high time every player realise his own mistakes and work on them if they desire to be a potent force in world hockey again.
"In World League surprsingly, there was a lack of co-ordination among the players. We committed small mistakes in every match and allowed out opponents to score soft goals," he said.
"We were also very poor in trapping the ball. The defence as usual was weak and gave easy shooting chances to out opponents. I hope every player will realise their mistakes and give extra effort to work on those areas," Sardar added.
The Indian captain, however, said there was no reason why India can't qualify for the World Cup by winning the Asia Cup.
"We have a month's time to iron out our flaws before Asia Cup. What we need to do is to spend extra time on the field and analyse our mistakes," he said.
"Undoubtedly, the pressure will be more but we have the team to win the Asia Cup. There will be pressure but every player needs to out their hands up and be counted," Sardar said.
Sardar also called for the need to appoint a full-time sports psychologists with the team to work make the players mentally tough.
"I always stressed one needs to have a big heart to play hockey. No matter whoever is your opposition, you need to have self-belief. You need to be mentally stronger. So I feel we need a psychologist.
"(Hockey India technical advisor) Roelant Oltmans have also asked for a psychologist," he said.