Despite losing to Belgium and hosts Great Britain in the previous matches, Indian men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh believes that his team can bounce back when they take on the two teams in the FIH Pro League.
India, who were leading the Pro League table before their tour of Europe, first lost 1-2 to reigning Olympic champions Belgium before losing 2-4 to Great Britain. Craig Fulton’s side will face Belgium on June 2 before facing table-toppers Great Britain on June 3.
Emphasizing on the team’s structure, India Captain Harmanpreet expressed confidence in his team’s quest to return to the top of the table, “We are not letting the two losses last week play on our minds. We still have six more matches to play and we know that if we play to the structure and execute good finishes, we will be able to return to the top of the pool table.”
Though the results were not what they expected, the team did have some takeaways from the two matches, said Harmanpreet who became the all-time leading goal-scorer in the Pro League with 35 goals.
“Both opponents play very different styles. While Belgium plays zonal, GB plays man-to-man. But there were some takeaways from those two matches. Though we didn’t create that many field goals, we did get some good PCs. There are some areas we also worked on, in these past few days and focus will continue to be on defending well,” Harmanpreet opined.
India vice captain Hardik Singh also highlighted the efforts of newcomers in the squad. “I think after the Rourkela matches, there was a bit of a gap to play highly competitive matches. It will take some time particularly for the youngsters to settle in and make the right connections to score goals.”
“This is a big platform for youngsters like Sukhjeet, Karthi and even Abhishek who are playing in London for the first time and Sanjay also made a good debut. There are a lot of positives from the first two matches here which they will be working on to carry forward in the upcoming matches,” signed off the young midfielder.
Indian men’s squad:
Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (C), Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sumit, Sanjay, Mandeep Mor, Gurinder Singh
Midfielders: Hardik Singh (VC), Dilpreet Singh, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad
Forwards: Abhishek, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, S Karthi, Gurjant Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh
India’s FIH Pro League matches in Europe
India 1-2 Belgium
India 2-4 Great Britain
India vs Belgium, 2 June, 1900 hrs IST
India vs Great Britain, 3 June, 1700 hrs IST
India vs Netherlands, 7 June, 2300 hrs IST
India vs Argentina, 8 June, 2030 hrs IST
India vs Netherlands, 10 June, 2100 hrs IST
India vs Argentina, 11 June, 2100 hrs IST