Fully aware about the Herculan task that awaits the Indian men's hockey team in the upcoming World Cup, former captain Pargat Singh today said a semifinal finish in the mega-event would be a big achievement for the past masters of the game.
"Going by the team's performance since last year till date, reaching the semifinals will be a big achievement. It will be a credit to the team," Pargat told PTI.
The Hockey World Cup will be played at The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.
Eight-time Olympic champions India will open their campaign against Belgium on Saturday. But before the start of the tournament, India were dealt two huge blows in the form of strikers Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah, who were ruled out due to injuries.
"We are already eighth in world rankings. And then the injuries (to Ramandeep and Nikkin) have come at the last hour. We will need to put up a really good show to compete with the top teams," Pargat said.
Pargat pointed out that Indian hockey lacks a "structured system". He also felt that there was over-reliance on players from Punjab, a state known for producing the finest hockey talents in India.
"We are not promoting talent at the grassroot level from other areas to the level that is expected," Pargat said.