Fairly well-placed after eight video games, the Indian males’s hockey crew would look to annexe the highest place within the standings when it takes on England in a double-leg FIH Pro League tie, beginning on Saturday.
The second match of the tie can be performed on Sunday.
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Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists India have thus far performed eight matches this season and are positioned second within the standings, behind Germany (17 factors), with 16 factors.
The Indian crew defeated South Africa 10-2, 10-2 earlier than successful a sport and shedding one towards France (5-0, 2-5) and Spain (5-4, 3-5).
Recently towards Argentina, the Indians misplaced 2-2 (1-Three within the shoot-out) earlier than registering an exhilarating 4-Three win within the second match.
Going into the tie towards England, defence stays a serious concern for the Indians because the backline wilted beneath stress in each match.
Conceding delicate objectives has been India’s bane and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh had no qualms in admitting that, saying the defenders want to enhance their choice making going ahead.
“Our fundamental focus is to make the crew stronger match by match. We are studying quite a bit about our weaknesses and strengths. We want to enhance our ending and create extra penalty corners.
“The decision making needs to improve. The defenders need to avoid conceding penalty corners and tackle outside the circle,” he stated throughout a digital pre-match press convention.
On the opposite, India’s ahead line has been spectacular, scoring as many as 42 objectives within the eight video games.
Mandeep Singh, particularly, has been at his finest contained in the opposition circle, scoring some essential objectives, together with the last-minute match-winner towards Argentina of their earlier sport.
Captain of the Olympic bronze-medal successful aspect, Manpreet Singh is the spine of India’s midfield alongside Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilkanta Sharma and Sumit.
The presence of 4 world-class drag flicking choices — Harmanpreet, skipper Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar and younger Jugraj Singh — hand India a transparent edge over their opponents.
Jugraj has been a revelation since making his senior crew debut, hanging a brace within the second sport towards Argentina earlier than offering the help to Mandeep for the winner.
“He (Jugraj) is playing really well. He is a powerful, world-class drag-flicker, which is a big benefit for the team. He is availing his chances. The presence of so many drag flickers makes it difficult for opponents to judge,” Rohidas stated.
In their final assembly, India defeated England 3-1 within the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics final 12 months.
On paper and in world rankings too, India holds an edge over England. While the Indians are ranked fourth, the Englishmen occupy the seventh spot.
England, however, is positioned seventh within the Pro League standings with six factors from two wins and as many defeats.
England began their Pro League marketing campaign on a constructive observe beating Spain 6-1 and 3-2 earlier than shedding 1-Three and 0-2 to Argentina.
England is on a rebuilding part beneath new captain Tom Sorsby and head coach Zak Jones and is trying on the Pro League matches to realize invaluable expertise forward of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“It (Pro League) is really important… We have new players and we want to gain some experience. These games are vital in building the momentum as much as possible going into CWG,” Jones stated.
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