This is the perfect time to experiment, says Raghunath

This is the perfect time to experiment, says Raghunath

 The decision to carry only one dragflicker in VR Raghunath to World League Semi-Final might have raised a few eyebrows but the defender said India could afford to experiment since it has already qualified for the Olympics.

New coach Paul van Ass dropped four regular players from the squad on Tuesday, which included Rupinder Pal Singh who made a seasoned dragflick-pair with Raghunath. The 26-year-old from Karnataka, however, said the team has enough time to get used to the new situation.

"Yes it is a challenge for the team, we are going in with one dragflicker, but we are taking this in a positive way. We are working on the indirect conversions, for when I am not there, this is what we are trying in the practice session.  Whenever I am in the ground I would be taking the maximum shots,” Raghunath said.

“We have four weeks going into the tournament, so we have enough time to prepare. We are going to play Pakistan and Australia, we have played them before. It's nice to do some experimenting at this point because we have qualified for Olympics, so we should take risks and try to work it around.”

Raghunath felt the influence of van Ass has been positive on the team and his experience is showing on the players. "He is working on our mental attitude. He is specific about a few things. He is working on how to approach and play in big tournaments,” he said.

The Dutchman has laid special emphasis on creating a defensive structure where players should make forward and defensive runs and contribute in both the aspects of the game. Raghunath concurred with his strategy. "Yes it is important to defend, as 11 players (on the field) we should be able to defend, so we are trying different attacking and defence combinations."

"He is also trying out maximum positions in each player, that is the new thing that has come, we are playing in three-four different positions. This would help us in future.”

He also dismissed that changing the squad frequently was putting unnecessary pressure on the players. He also felt having a reserve pool of players who could take position in case of an injury would be helpful.

Raghunath also had a word for those dropped. "I was out of the team for two years and I made a comeback, so it is an opportunity that everyone should take."

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