Improvement is coach Walsh”s goal in HWL Final

New Delhi: The inaugural Hockey World League Final is chief coach Terry Walsh’s first real test with the Indian team and the Australian sounded realistic about his side’s chances, saying he was eyeing nothing but “improvement” from his wards in the tournament.

India got a chance to play in the HWL Final by being the hosts and placed along side Germany, England and New Zealand in Pool A while the Pool B consists of Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and Argentina.

India will open their campaign against England at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here tomorrow.

Asked Walsh about his expectations from the tournament, he replied: “The goal is improvement. Improvement in four basic areas of our performance — physiological, psychological, tactical and basic skills.”

“Expectations for me is measurement. To measure our steady rate of improvement, to evaluate where we are physiologically. To evaluate where we are in terms of handling pressure,” he said.

“That’s realistically what we are doing. We have got a training methodology in place which permits us to look at those things. We will also be looking at the level of performance of players and evaluate where they are both as individuals and collectively as a team.”

Since taking over the reigns of the team only in last November, Walsh has introduced many new things and the Australian said HWL Final will give him an opportunity to judge where the team stands presently.

“I think we have (implemented some changes) but it will be interesting to see whether or not we can apply them on the pitch. In our practice games we had a mixture,” he said.

The HWL Final is being treated as a perfect build-up for India ahead of the World Cup to be held later this year at The Hague, Netherlands.

“It (HWL Final) would be advantegous but certainly not compulsory. If we finish in top four in this tournament that necessarily doesn’t mean we will finish top four in the World Cup. There is a co-relation but there is not a direct relationship,” the coach said.