Drag-flicker Raghunath confident of India return

The drag-flicker, who last played for India in the 2010 Azlan Shah Cup, shouldered Karnataka into the semifinals, converting two penalty corners, including the golden goal in extra time, to pull his team out of a hole against Air India on Thursday.

Raghunath has so far converted nine penalty corners and is the tournament’s joint top scorer with good friend and fellow drag-flicker Sandeep Singh. Raghunath until,now have scored 11 goals.

“I have been out of the national team for a year now and it was a difficult period for me. I worked on my drag-flicking and also tightened my defence,” Raghunath told IANS.

Raghunath is optimistic the selectors will keep two penalty-corner experts in the squad and he is confident of making the cut. The Bangalore player was adjudged the best defender in the Obaidullah Cup tournament, played just before the nationals. He scored six goals for Indian Oil. “I have had two good tournaments. I am hitting the ball well in the striking zone.

I am also able to contribute in the defence. I am just waiting for an opportunity to get back into the team.”

“The way hockey is played today, the team’s dependency on penalty corners has increased,
but it is not the only aspect that can win you matches. The overall game has to be good.

The drag-flicker needs to be a good defender first. Defence is the priority, drag-flicking is a bonus,” says the 25-year-old.

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