After scoring the most number of goals (four) for India in their 3-0 series win against New Zealand last week, Rupinder Pal Singh is eager to continue his top form in the upcoming Asian Games.
“Personally for me, playing against a quality team like New Zealand, who won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games was very important. Since I had missed out all the action during the Champions Trophy, I had to find my rhythm ahead of the Asian Games in Jakarta,” said Rupinder.
During the Commonwealth Games, Rupinder suffered a hamstring injury and had to be rested for the Champions Trophy, wherein the team won a silver medal.
“It is frustrating for any player to be watching the team play on TV but it was critical for me to undergo rehab in order to be match-fit and available for the Asian Games selections,” he said.
Rupinder appeared in four practice matches against Bangladesh early this month where he scored 10 goals through penalty corners (PCs) and played two practice matches against South Korea, where he scored a goal from PCs.
“I think having Bangladesh, South Korea and New Zealand visit us for matches ahead of major tournaments this season was a blessing in disguise. During these matches, the team tried out different combinations and tested different variations in converting PC. We also tried new methods of creating PCs where I think the team did well. Our main criteria was to improve our scoring rate,” he said.
After the successful series against New Zealand, players have returned home for a week-long break and will re-join the national camp on August 1. At the Asian Games, India are grouped in Pool A with Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Hong Kong China.
“The one-week break will help us rejuvenate as some of us have been in the national camp continuously since April 28. When we return to camp, the team will sit together, watch videos from our matches against New Zealand and try and find out ways to improve further. We are eager to defend the gold medal at Asian Games in Jakarta,” he said.