MUMBAI: Former India captain Dhanraj Pillay responded to critical views that have popped up in the aftermath of India’s bronze medal success at the Hockey World League Final saying credit needs to be given where it is due.
With the eight competing nations aware they were through to the quarterfinals even before the tournament began, some, like former World Cup winning captain Ajit Pal Singh, felt India did well to capitalise on the unusual format. Pillay, however, had a different take. “Overall, if you see, it was a good performance in the Hockey World League,” Pillay, said on Wednesday shortly after his Air India side had thumped CAG 5-1 in their opening match of the Dabang Mumbai – 50th All India Bombay Gold Cup, at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium. “We are preparing for the 2016 Olympics. The coach too said we would realize where we stand for Rio. And bronze is not bad at all. After a long time, we’ve won against Holland. Even when I was playing, we drew or we lost. In 10 years, I can’t remember the last time we won. We were winning at 5-3, but unfortunately we couldn’t hold on in the last four minutes. But a win in a penalty shootout as such is as good as winning the match,” Pillay added.
Asked about India’s notoriety for conceding goals at the death, a reputation they didn’t exactly distance themselves from against the Dutch, Pillay again rose to the defence of Roelant Oltmans’ side. “Everyone talks of the same old habits, but anyone in a desperate situation would stop at nothing. In the final minutes, they knew they were losing by two goals, so they all went up.