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How Balbir Singh Sr inspired demoralised Indian team for its only WC title

If Dada Dhyan Chand was a pillar of Indian hockey before independence, Balbir Singh Sr was the other pillar in the post-independence era, says Ajit Pal Singh, captain of Indian hockey team in 1975

Balbir Singh Sr
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Balbir Singh Sr. In the summit clash of 1975 World Cup, India defeated Pakistan 2-1 to claim its maiden World Cup title. Photo: PTI

Press Trust of India New Delhi
He didn't always need a hockey stick to pull it off for India, that was the kind of magic Balbir Singh Sr could weave and which steered a "demoralised" national team to its first and only World Cup gold back in 1975.
All Singh had to do was offer a pep talk over breakfast while managing the Ajit Pal Singh-led side, which also featured Ashok Kumar, son of Major Dhyan Chand, the original hockey wizard with whom Singh was compared throughout his career. And why not, they were both three-time Olympic gold-medallists but belonged to different eras.
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First Published: May 25 2020 | 4:19 PM IST

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