**Bhubaneswar: ** With the Temple City hosting the Hockey World League (HWL) Finals 2017, all routes have been leading to the Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex, since December 1.
However, the performance of the hosts, a heart-breaking 2-3 defeat against England and the 1-1 draw against Australia in the opener, has dampened the cheer.
Former Indian Hockey skipper, Dilip Tirkey blames it on consistency and a sloppy defence of the local team. Speaking exclusively to OMMCOM NEWS on Sunday, Tirkey said, the team is lacking uniformity of performance and timing.
“While the team pulls up a world class performance in one match, they crumble with an ordinary show in the other. Timing and stability are crucial factors in Hockey, which can change the fate of a game,” he said.
In the tier against England, the Indian team displayed run-of-the-mill stuff and were 2-0 down in the first half. The players capitalised well in the second half and equaled the points. However, silly mistakes of the ‘defence’ led to a loss, Tirkey added.
“The attack of the existing team is quite balanced, but the defenders need to pull up their socks. Besides, the team also needs to focus more short (penalty) corners and improve the conversion rate,” Tirkey, one of the most adept defenders of his era, said.
Tirkey expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the local players, Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidas and Birendra Lakra. They have showed some spirited Hockey in the first two games. The upcoming ties are crucial in which they need to exhibit more teamwork, Tirkey added.
The former Indian skipper was in full praise for the arrangements and management of HWL Finals by the State Government. International players are impressed with the facilities here and are willing to come to Odisha and play Hockey at the Kalinga Stadium.
“The fans deserve a special mention. The crowd is spirited and cheers up in all matches regardless of the teams in the centre,” Tirkey said.