Harmanpreet Singh, a drag-flicker, was India's standout performer, converting both penalty corners and scoring a brace for the team.
The Indian hockey team delivered a clinical performance against arch-rival Pakistan, winning 3-1 in the league stage match of the Asian Champions Trophy 2021 in Dhaka. Harmanpreet Singh, a drag-flicker, was India’s standout performer, converting both penalty corners and scoring a brace for the team. India had numerous chances in the first two quarters but only managed to score one goal. Coming into the third and fourth quarters, India worked on their flaws and scored two more goals to finish the game with three goals.
“I think it is not about only Pakistan. What we are thinking whenever we get into the pitch we are playing against any team we feel the same. Even Pakistan are a very good team. They also got a lot of opportunities but we are always happy to win against Pakistan,” said Harmanpreet Singh after the match.
“We got a lot of opportunities in the first quarter. So, I think we have to be more focused on that. Whenever we get a chance we have to finish that. It will be easier for further quarters,” he added.
India has rested a number of experienced players from the Tokyo Olympics squad, including PR Sreejesh, Mandeep Singh, Surender Kumar, Simranjeet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, and others, while Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra have retired from international hockey.
Suraj Karkera, Krishan Pathak, Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Dipsan Tirkey, and Mandeep Mor have benefited from all of these rests and retirements. The inexperience of these youngsters was evident on the field, as they received numerous cards, reducing the team to ten men on the field.
“We have a lot of new players. We have not played for the last few months. This is our first tournament after Olympics. There are some news because of that. If you talk about performance, then we can improve on a lot of things. We can avoid cards and improve on that. For the future match, I think we can improve these kinds of things. We don’t get any easy card and all whenever we get a chance we finish properly. ” Harmanpreet continued.
India, the tournament’s three-time champion, is unbeaten so far and also tops the points table with 7 points from two wins and one draw. Harmanpreet Singh attributes India’s undefeated run in the ongoing tournament to the entire team and young players. India’s entry into the semi-finals is now a certainty, and if they can iron out their flaws, they will be able to build a strong bench for the future, as these young players have demonstrated a lot of talent and potential.
“It is all because of our hard work and also luck. The boys are doing really good and some of the new boys are doing really good. It is all about our hard work and whatever practice we are doing in Bangalore. ” said Harmanpreet.