New Delhi: German striker Oskar Deecke and goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi, both members of the London Olympics gold medal-winning team, feel that the India have individually brilliant players but need to improve their tactical skills as a team.
"Indian team is full of individual skilled players. But they lack tactical skills as a group. Some of the Indian guys are brilliant but need to be tactically strong," said Jacobi.
His team-mate Deecke said the Indian players need to understand that they were not playing as individuals but as a team.
"They have to move as 11 players not as individuals. Some of the Indian guys who have experienced the game at the highest level are better than the international guys. We as Germans play man-to-man marking while the Indians are good at dribbling, good at sticks. We can learn these skills from the Indian players during the Hockey India League," said Deecke.
Both the players, along with Indian full-back Rupinder Pal Singh, on Wednesday paid a visit to the German Embassy to meet the German ambassador to India Michael Steiner. The visit was a part of promoting the sporting ties between the two countries.
The three players are in Delhi Waveriders team in the inaugural Hero Hockey India League. Delhi's captain Sardar Singh was also expected to be part of the visit to the Embassy but could not make it due to prior engagements.
Asked what steps need to be taken to revive Indian hockey, Jacobi said, "There should be a proper youth scouting system to identify the talent at an early age. In Germany, we have a proper system in place which starts right from the school level.
"India have discontinued their youth development system which was there earlier. The players did not get tactical education when it's required the most. You need to grow up with it. When an Indian player reaches 18, he has fantastic individual skills but lacks tactical skills. We, in Germany, scout for the talent early. We don't let go talent," he added.
Deecke also reasoned out the change of turf (introduction of artifical turfs) as another reason for the downfall of the Indian hockey.
"It's pretty easy to explain that. Change of turf is the only case with them," he said.
Talking about Delhi Waveriders' chances in the semifinal of the Hockey India League, Deecke said Ranchi Rhinos are the team to watch out for.
"Rhinos are a very good team. They have got 3-4 good international players. They are the team to watch out for. In the play-offs, anything can happen as you have to start afresh," he said.
Jacobi said the HIL will take some time to grow in terms of standard.
"Before the start of the league, I did not have much expectations from it but once it started, the journey so far has been pretty amazing. I have seen such euphoria before. There is a good mix of international players and it has been a great learning experience.
"The league also provides good opportunity to the Germans to earn some money. It has been an enriching experience," he added.
Deecke said they visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar yesterday ahead of their semifinal clash.
"We went to the temple and it was an amazing expereince for us. We prayed for the team."