`We must learn to be ruthless'                                                           Bombay Times | 8/7/2003  
Hockey hero Viren Rasquinha believes a no-mercy attitude will
take the Indian team places

He's a wiry 22-year-old, but packs a mean push with that 22-ounce hockey stick from midfield. Meet Viren Rasquinha, Mumbai's star from the marauding Indian hockey team that's currently on Cloud Nine with back-to-back wins in tournaments in Hamburg and Australia.

Talk about the game and Viren's fired up. Interject queries with a mention of girlfriends and he goes red in the face. Clearly, girls may be on the agenda and there may be that special someone, but his beet red face does not divulge information on that front.

This Bandra boy can be classified as the new age Indian sportsperson — talented, with that `special attitude' that calls for the head of the opponent. He doesn't believe in giving anything to the opposition. "We have to learn to be a ruthless team. When the opposition is down, we have to finish it. No mercy," he shoots from the lip.

Without doubt, there has been an attitude change in the team and the new generation of players have played a big part. This has made Viren all the more adamant on being part of this team for a long time. "There is an attitude change. We want to beat the opposition and we know we can do it. We are not happy with a draw anymore," says Viren, for whom the recent tournaments have been a
big confidence boost.

Commenting further on the attitude of the team, he says, "Today, other teams are looking at this Indian team with a lot of respect and fear as well." With competition within the team being fierce as well, how does he plan to keep his place? "I'm considered one of the best defence players in the team, and if I can improve on
my attack, it will help me in my all-round ability. Presently, my defence game is regarded highly along with my man-marking skills," he says.

As a kid, Viren too dreamt dreams and he very dearly wanted to don the India colours. "You dream of some things in life and don't believe they will happen. But when they do, it's a fantastic feeling," says the Ronaldo and David Beckham fan.
Right now, he's happy that the common man has taken a keen interest in the game. "This is good for the popularity of the sport," he says.

Does that mean hockey players will now vie with cricketers for modelling contracts? "Where are the offers," he asks, rubbing his hands in anticipation!


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Copyright 2006 Martin D'Souza. All rights reserved.