New Delhi: Erstwhile heavyweights India and Pakistan's resurgence is important for world hockey and there could be "nothing better for the game when they play good", says Australia captain Jamie Dwyer.
Dwyer was impressed by the two side's showings in the recently-concluded Champions Trophy in Australia.
"I hope India and Pakistan keep improving and keep making semi-finals of big tournaments. They were disappointing at the Olympics this year but we saw here [in Melbourne] that how good they can be," Dwyer told PTI in an exclusive interview from Melbourne.
"When India and Pakistan are good there is nothing better for the game. The game becomes so exciting because the amount of following in those countries is huge. I want hockey in those countries to do really well. It is pleasing to see them making the semi-finals. How they played the game here is more attractive," he said.
Both India and Pakistan had started the tournament as underdogs. While Pakistan claimed the bronze medal, India had to be content with a creditable fourth-place finish. Dwyer, who guided the Kookaburras to their record fifth straight Champions Trophy title, was full of praise for the Sardar Singh-led Indian outfit.
"They [India] had real belief in their game. They had a couple of players who were exceptional. They seemed to click on occasions. They didn't play too good against us in the semi-finals but I haven't seen India play like this since [Dhanraj] Pillay was in the team back in early 2000," he said.
"They were very skillful, played very tough hockey. If they keep on doing this more often they will make the semi-finals of major competitions," Dwyer observed.
"India has to have belief in their structure and in the way they are playing. The way they played in the Champions Trophy it seems they really had that belief and seemed very structured. They all knew what they were doing, which is a good thing."