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first_imgSardar Singh’s retirement from the international hockey didn’t come as a surprise to many as the veteran player’s performance had always been under the scanner since he was blamed for being too slow to be in the team.Amid all kind of speculation, former coach Sjoerd Marijne made him captain of the team for the Azlan Shah Cup at the beginning of the year. But a dismal performance and a fifth position finish in Malaysia pushed Marijne to drop the 32-year-old from the squad for the Commonwealth Games under the pretext of stiff competition.Sardar said it was a low point in his career where he was lacking in self-belief. But a 15-20 minutes pep-talk with Sachin Tendulkar helped the Haryana man to stage a comeback in the squad for Champions Trophy.”I want to say thank you to Sachin paaji for helping me get back my mental strength when all chips were down,” Sardar said during media interaction here. “Whenever I called him, he took my calls and never rushed during any conversation. After getting dropped from CWG squad, I asked him how to prove myself when others are doubting me, tab unhone meri 15-20 minute class lagayi (he counselled me for 15-20 minutes).”He asked me to watch my old videos and analyse my game. He told me to visualise the game in my head before going into a match. It really helped me and I managed to stage a comeback and it showed in my performance during the Champions Trophy.”advertisementAt this time when senior team coach Harendra Singh is also under pressure due to the horrendous show at the Asiad, Sardar vowed support for his former coach, who brought him in the junior then senior set up at the beginning of his career.”I think it’s not right to doubt Harendra Singh because he is one of the best. He has worked hard a lot to reach here. He has done all the FIH courses needed for a coach and proved himself with the girls’ team and with us during the Champions Trophy,” said the midfielder.However, he didn’t deny the importance of having the best of the foreign coaches by giving examples of Roelant Oltmans, Terry Walsh, who improved the standard of Indian hockey players, especially their fitness.”Of course having best names among coaches training you makes you better. In modern hockey, the fitness of a player is of paramount importance. Roelant Oltman, Terry Walsh and Barry Dancer were some great coaches we had, who won India some big trophies and also improved player’s fitness level with their modern hockey knowledge.But he added, communication with foreign coaches especially during a match has been a perennial issue.”But yeah, communicating with foreign coaches during a match used to be an issue. Especially with the introduction of quarters, where tactical change by a coach during the breaks was not always well understood due to the language barrier. Even the pre-match meetings used to go on for hours due to translation, so concentrating on that for long was another issue,” he quipped.Sardar himself has admitted that he wants to try a career in coaching as he is planning to play club hockey in Europe for next two years and start his coaching courses.last_img read more