In a recent correspondence with Hockey India members, national federation president and former player Dilip Tirkey asserted the need for specialist drag-flickers and goalkeepers in modern hockey. He also highlighted the need to develop a talent pool of young athletes specialised in these two skills.

“The drag-flicking technique has become one of the most thrilling aspects of modern hockey. The joy of a well-coordinated penalty corner with the ball being dragged at the speed of a bullet going past the wall of defenders always emerges as one of the most exciting aspects of the sport,” he said.

“Similarly, there is a growing importance of having a well-trained and agile goalkeeper. India’s recent success in major international tournaments can be attributed to PR Sreejesh and Savita Punia who have played their roles with utmost professionalism.”

He further added, “drag-flickers and goalkeepers at the junior level still need vast improvement in their game skills. Hence, there is a growing need for specialised coaching across these disciplines at the academies.”

In light of this need for enhancing the pool of talent across these aspects, Hockey India has initiated a process of scouting talent from a young age and develop those players with the support of academies and sports hostels.