Bhubaneswar: Eight time Olympic Hockey champion India has rather a dismal record in the game's biggest stage, the World Cup where it has won only once in 1975, the 3rd edition of the elite trophy. Over the last 10 editions since then, the players have never been able to match the scintillating form of the team which won the silverware.
But for most players, a hockey tournament like the World Cup in India and that too, in Odisha, which is considered as the 'Cradle of Hockey' is nothing but a dream come true.
Even as the recent records of teams like Australia which had won the last two editions and other powerhouses like Argentina and Netherlands might seem to be a severely daunting task for team India, players in this young brigade have their own abilities to turn things this time around.
India under the guidance of coach Harendra Singh is having a good run of form with silver at the Champions Trophy, a bronze at the Asian Games and recently the Asian Champions Trophy title.Add to that the advantage of fullypacked crowdat Kalinga Stadium behind their back, there is no reason why India cannot win the trophy.
Players of the 1975 World Cup team Omkar Singh, Virendra Singh and Ashok Dewanare also optimistic about India's prospects during the tournament.
Speaking exclusively to OTV, the three opened up about their speculations ahead of India's campaign opener against South Africa today evening.
Omkar Singh said,"India has recently achieved a good balance in their performance and if they can get a good run of form with better combination and conversion,no one can say that we cannot win."
"They have been working hard and practising at the venue since last one month. The team will get full public support and wishes would be pouring from every corner. Odisha government is organising the event this time and I hope if the team can play consistently well, they will win and make the country proud," said Virendra Singh.
“In one match the team plays well while in the next they falter, and that is what led to India's loss in Asia Cup. India has a good record against the strongest team in Pool-C, Belgium and if they can do so their chances of qualificationto the quarter finals will become easier," the Hockey Olympian said.
Asked about the goalkeeping of the team India, legendary shot stopper of the World Cup winning squad Ashok Dewan said "PR Shreejesh has been the backbone of the team since last three to four years. If the team is expecting wins he should play well, which I hope he will."