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India Can Learn a Lot from Teams Like Argentina & Belgium: Hockey Legend Dhanraj Pillay

Legendary hockey player Dhanraj Pillay believes that India should follow the example of teams likes Argentina and Belgium in they want to return to the top of the hockey ladder, here on Thursday.

Vimal Kumar | News18@Vimalwa

Updated:February 15, 2018, 8:13 PM IST
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India Can Learn a Lot from Teams Like Argentina & Belgium: Hockey Legend Dhanraj Pillay
File Image of Dhanraj Pillay. (Getty Image)
New Delhi: Legendary hockey player Dhanraj Pillay believes that India should follow the example of teams likes Argentina and Belgium in they want to return to the top of the hockey ladder, here on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview to News18, Pillay said that Argentina and Belgium were not hockey superpowers but they have turned their fortunes around and India can achieve the same if they follow in the same footsteps.

"My dream is to see the Indian team win gold medals at Olympics and also at World Cups. When this will happen, no one will dare to point fingers towards the sport in out country and only then we can put the team in the same bracket as Australia, Argentina and Belgium," Pillay told News18.

"During my playing days, were never used to consider Argentina and Belgium as competitors. However, they have turned things around a lot in the last 10 years. I believe that the Indian team is also heading into the right direction, but all they need is a gold medal," he added.

The former India skipper also said that hockey shouldn't be compared with cricket in the country as hockey has a better past. Taking about the gold medals that India have won at Olympics and other big tournaments, Pillay said that the only thing that hockey needs to learn from cricket is professionalism.

"It is wrong to compare hockey with any other sport. We have won multiple gold medals at the Olympics, World Cups, Asian Games and also Commonwealth titles," Pillay said.

"However, I would like to say that we can learn professionalism, financial aspects of the game and how to land big sponsorship deals from cricket. But in the last five years, we have seen a change in this aspect as well," he added.

Speaking about the changes that he can see in the modern game, Pillay said that the fitness of the players is something that has really caught his eye in recent years. Also, he mentioned the fact that players back then had to fight for money, something which doesn't happen in the modern game.

"Yes, there have been many changes in the game and the biggest aspect is the pace at which players play nowadays. They give special attention to their fitness as well. During my time I used to keep myself fit but had I played in this Indian team, I would have gotten even more fit just by playing with these guys," praised the former India skipper.

"Also, I used to fight for match fee related issues back then, which according to me was very less. But now, players have no such problems as because of Hockey India League, most of them have become millionaires atleast. The players don't have to be concerned about their futures now," he signed off.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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