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Thanks to Indian coach, words are not lost in translation anymore: Sardar

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Senior players Singh and say having an Indian as the national team's head has broken all communication barriers and tactically too is no less than any of his foreign counterparts.

Harendra, who was appointed in May, coached to a second straight runners-up finish at the last month.

"I still remember Harendra paaji had called me to a national camp 15-16 years ago. We go back a long way. I played under him even when he was assisting in 2009," told

"It is a different feeling working with an Indian We can discuss anything with him under the sun. He also openly advises us and knows that as senior players we can't change our game completely," he added.

There is still time to explain things during training but absorbing coach's advice during the two-minute break between quarters can be tough. That is where Harendra has made a massive difference.

"If you see he has given results whether it is with the women's team or the men's junior side which won He has worked with the best of coaches. One big positive (after his arrival) is that we all communicate in Hindi now.

"With foreigners, even if you miss a single point during those two-minute breaks it can create confusion in the minds of the players. The is observing the game from the outside and he can tell you right away (what needs to be done) in your own language. There is not much time anyway to absorb anyway, so a language that all understand helps immensely," said the 32-year-old

Sardar's long-time teammate Manpreet concurred with his view on Harendra.

"Whenever a new coach comes, he has to make sure that we don't change our styles of play. Our strength has always been attack and counter-attack. Harendra paaji knows how to make best use of speedy forwards like S V Sunil and Akashdeep," said Manpreet.

"He is a very positive person. In short time, he says the right things. He has improved a lot tactically, having worked with the best coaches in the business, though he says 'he is still learning'."

So, has the time come when can end their obsession with foreign coaches?

"I think we can put an end to that practice. You saw how we performed in Champions Trophy," said

India will be defending their title in later this month. A gold again will secure them a spot at Both and Manpreet are aiming for an encore which will lessen the pain of a medal-less performance at in April.

"We all are thinking about the gold. That secures our Olympic qualification and gives us more time to prepare for Tokyo," said Manpreet.

Sardar said the the current Indian team doesn't settle for anything less than a gold anymore.

"When I started playing, we used to be 12th or 13th in the rankings. Now we are fifth. You must have observed even during the that we were not happy with the silver medal at all. We had gone there to win gold. So the mindset has changed completely.

"We lost the final in the shoot-off but in the 60 minutes we had the ball, more possession and the other statistics were in our favour. We faltered in the shoot-out and that is something we have been working on after every training session," he said.

"The will not be as tough as the but you can't take any team lightly. In modern hockey, it is very important to read the game of your opponents."

Sardar is on a comeback trail after being dropped from Back then, the thought he may not play for India again but he overcame that phase to earn a recall for

"I did feel the pressure when I came back. My mindset was to give my best. My role in the team has also changed a bit. If you noticed, it is all about quick passing now, I don't hold the ball for long anymore," he concluded.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 17:00 IST