FIH Professional League: Indian males’s hockey staff returns to prime degree competitors after a yr in opposition to Argentina

FIH Professional League: Indian males’s hockey staff returns to prime degree competitors after a yr in opposition to Argentina

India performed their final FIH Hockey Professional League match in opposition to Australia in February final yr in Bhubaneswar.

FIH Pro League: Indian men’s hockey team returns to top level competition after a year against Argentina

File picture of Indian males’s hockey staff with chief coach Graham Reid. Twitter @HockeyIndia

Buenos Aires: The Indian males’s hockey staff will return to top-level worldwide competitors after greater than a yr when it takes on Olympic champions Argentina within the first match of the two-game FIH Professional League tie on Saturday.

After being caught at their base on the Sports activities Authority of India, Bengaluru centre, for all the final yr in the course of the coronavirus outbreak, the Indians will lastly get to play high-intensity worldwide matches.

India performed their final FIH Hockey Professional League match in opposition to Australia in February final yr in Bhubaneswar.

The Indians are at the moment fifth within the FIH Professional League standings with 10 factors from six video games, with two wins and as many loses and attracts.
World champions Belgium are atop the standings with 32 factors from 13 video games, adopted by Germany (19 factors from 8 matches), Netherlands (18 from 11) and Australia (14 from 8).

The Indians could not have requested for a greater timing for his or her return to top-flight worldwide hockey because the upcoming Professional League matches in opposition to some robust opponents will present them beneficial match apply forward of the Tokyo Olympics, that are slightly greater than three months away.

They resumed worldwide hockey in February this yr once they launched into a tour of Europe, the place they performed out two attracts and registered two victories of their 4 video games in opposition to Germany and Nice Britain.

These video games have been deliberate to assist the Indian males’s hockey staff put together effectively for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

However it’s the top-notch FIH Professional League matches that may assist India to guage the place they stand forward of the Tokyo Video games, starting on 23 July.

This time, the opponents are Argentina, and the matches will probably be performed within the iconic Cernard Stadium right here on Saturday and Sunday.

The Indians had an excellent build-up to the two-match tie having defeated Argentina 4-3 earlier than drawing 4-4 within the two apply video games.

There have been loads of encouraging indicators for India’s chief coach Graham Reid as skipper Manpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Rupinder Pal Singh have been on track regardless of being out of motion for prolonged durations.

The forwards, specifically, impressed and created a variety of goalmouth alternatives. Mandeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma and Dilpreet Singh had good outings.

However, Reid pressured the significance of the defence being frugal. In each the apply video games, Argentina managed to make their approach again within the contest after India’s speedy begin.

Skipper Manpreet, nevertheless, is glad with the efficiency of his aspect within the two apply video games and feels they should utilise each alternative that comes their approach forward of the Olympics.

“Each apply matches have been good. They have been hard-fought video games and fairly intense,” Manpreet mentioned.

“Having missed match apply for a lot of final yr, now we have to money in on the alternatives we get. It’s good for us that we are going to be examined in opposition to a troublesome opponent like Argentina.

“In each the video games, we confirmed a variety of combat and created a great deal of possibilities. However we might have scored much more while conceding fewer objectives. We’re working laborious to be extra compact on the again and being extra ruthless going ahead,” the 28-year-old added.

Manpreet can also be relishing the prospect of sporting the captain’s armband once more.

“Sure, final yr was a troublesome time for all of us. We had performed excellent hockey within the preliminary spherical of the FIH Professional League video games in opposition to robust opponents resembling Belgium, Netherlands and Australia,” he mentioned.

“We labored laborious in our coaching camps and tried our greatest to recreate the depth of a high-stake worldwide match. That’s the reason the upcoming matches are so necessary to us.”

Manpreet refused to learn a lot into Argentina’s latest stoop in kind.

“Argentina are a high quality aspect and now we have had some good matches in opposition to them over time. We have to concentrate on our recreation. Like I mentioned, every match we play is a studying expertise.”

Having suffered twin defeats in opposition to Germany final week, the stress, although, will probably be on the hosts. The losses pushed the Argentines to sixth place within the FIH Professional League desk under India.

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