India's chief hockey coach Michael Nobbs is not reading much into the 3-1 win against Pakistan in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia on Tuesday. The Aussie was happy after India scored their first win in three games and praised a young team's fighting spirit in a big game.
India are fielding a junior team in the six-nation championship and using the tournament to build the national side for the junior World Cup to be held later this year. At least 10 players in Ipoh can qualify for the junior world championship to be hosted and thus Nobbs is not expecting much in terms of silverware.
When asked if India can go on to win the Azlan Shah Cup, Nobbs said: "That's a tough ask. We will do our best and try win our next two games (against Malaysia and New Zealand), but it won't be easy because the others teams are at full strength."
India have benched most of their top players, including skipper Sardar Singh, SV Sunil and Raghunath. Most players at Ipoh have been picked on the basis of the Hockey India League. The likes of Rupinder Pal Singh, Akashdeep and Mandeep Singh all did well in the HIL.
"The kids have determination and the heart. They are learning from their mistakes (of losing close games against Australia and Korea) and that’s why we are here. It’s just a learning experience here," Nobbs explained after the hard-fought victory against Pakistan.