Need to be consistent to qualify for Olympics: Pradhan

Need to be consistent to qualify for Olympics: Pradhan

One of the most experienced players of the present Indian women's hockey team, Subhadra Pradhan believes consistency will be key to the hosts' success in the London Olympics qualifers starting later next week.

Pradhan, a member of the Indian team that won the gold medal in the 2004 Asia Cup, was candid enough to admit that India need to lift their performances according to the strength of their opponents.

"We are often guilty of underperforming against weak opponents. We tend to play better against better teams and underperform against weak teams," she told reporters after a practice session at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium today.

"We cannot afford to do that in the qualifiers. We need to be more consistent in our performances," Pradhan insisted. The veteran defender said the first 10 minutes of any game will be crucial for the home team in the quailifiers as they tend to panic in the initial stages.

"We need to control passing and avoid panicking while passing the ball," Pradhan said. "Our main focus will be to score more and more goals and not to give away short corners to the opponent. Speed and stamina will be our main strenghts."

Penalty corner conversion remains a grave concern for the eves going into the tournament and Pradhan said they have two very good drag-flickers in Jasjeet Kaur Handa and Jaspreet Kaur.

"During the Test series against Azerbaijan we missed penalty corners because that time we were working on variations," she said. India will play Canada, Italy, Poland, South Africa and Ukraine in the qualifiers.

India will open their campaign against Ukraine on February 18.