By Jugjet Singh | NST | MALAYSIA |
KUALA LUMPUR: The ongoing Five-Test Series against India has unearthed two prized gems for the national women’s hockey squad, one who is just 16-years-old yet plays solidly while showing glimpses of being a future great, and the other a 30-year-old experienced penalty corner flicker who just gets better with age.
Teenager Kirandeep Kaur has blossomed into a versatile player after only a year of being given her big break on the international stage by coach K. Dharmaraj, while penalty corner flicker Nuraini Rashid has finally found her niche, and should be a dependable source for goals over the next five years or so.
“When I gave Kirandeep her big break (to play in the World League in Singapore and the Indonesia Asian Games), many felt she was just too young. But just look at her now, playing in her own right in the ongoing Test Series against India, she is just as good as any of the Kaur’s in their team (India),” said Dharmaraj.
It was with an eye on the future which convinced Dharmaraj to field the then 15-year-old in last year’s Indonesia Asian Games.
“She is one to watch for the future of Malaysian hockey, not my future as a coach. Any coach who takes over the national women’s hockey team after I retire will benefit from such a fine player as her (Kirandeep), who I believe will have a long and illustrious career in the sport,” said Dharmaraj.
Kirandeep was initially a shy and reserved player during the Asian Games, but in the Tests, she has come out of her shell and scored Malaysia’s first goal after two matches, while also inspiring a spirited comeback which took Malaysia from 0-2 down to 4-2 up before finally holding mighty India to a 4-4 draw.
“Kirandeep is no longer a ‘2-3 minute field player’, she is now a solid regular in midfield and attack….This shows just how much she has progressed since the Asian Games,” said Dharmaraj.
See full story, entitled ‘A lot more to come from young Kirandeep’, here.
Kirandeep Kaur makes history, youngest Malaysian hockey player to play in Asian Games (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2018)
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