Out of the World Cup, Indian hockey team must answer these 7 questions | Hockey News

BHUBANESWAR: “Thankfully, I didn’t buy tickets for the remaining matches.” The disaster at Kalinga Stadium on Sunday night left an indelible mark, if any, on fans’ minds. A comment on social media by a fan highlights what the sport is at risk of failing after India was knocked out of the World Cup beyond the top eight.
Another fan was traveling with his wife and 9-month-old baby to Bhubaneswar to watch India play in the quarter-finals of the World Cup as India’s struggles and New Zealand’s control in Sunday’s cross-match are making worried family.
“Welcome to Odisha…there’s so much to offer in Odisha besides hockey,” a tweet in response to the family’s dismay was read.
Basically, the fans were leaning on each other to cry. India unexpectedly lost to New Zealand (5-4), after two leads with a two-goal difference, 2-0 and 3-1. After 60 minutes of official time, the score was 3-3. The penalty shootout then also ended with a score of 3-3, only thanks to PR Sreejesh’s consecutive saves that brought India back from the dead. He also saved NZ’s first attempt at sudden death, injuring himself in the process. But it gave captain Harmanpreet Singh the perfect opportunity to redeem his disastrous World Cup as a player.
If Harmanpreet scores in sudden death, he will lift the mood of the whole country. The above fan must have bought tickets and the young family going to the World Cup will not be disappointed in their decision.


Image credit: Hockey India
But neither coach Graham Reid nor captain Harmanpreet Singh spoke of the ‘responsibility’ that they both mentioned unequivocally in speeches to the media before Sunday.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, the India team management must answer these seven questions:
1. Why can’t India defended the two-goal lead twice in the match?
India’s defense has never held up in just the first knockout they played at the World Cup. It was easy for the New Zealanders to get into India’s circle, especially in the final inning, when defenders were spotted waiting for Kiwi attackers inside the circle when they should have handled them inside. apart from D. It was the same mistake that India made in the 2018 Asian Games final against Malaysia. The team lost on both occasions.


Photo PTI
2. Why was the Indian defense under great pressure in the last 16 minutes?
It’s not that India didn’t gain ownership last quarter. But in most cases when an Indian player receives the ball, it takes a New Zealand player only seconds to win the ball back, either by an optional foul or by forcing the Indian players to pass the ball in a hurry when should have been wiser. To hold it, spray the ball around and build an attack. That didn’t happen, possibly due to the mental deadlock of being on the winning side in the dying minutes. A similar approach nearly cost India dearly in its bronze medal match with Germany at the Tokyo Olympics.
3. Why were four youths asked to handle the pressure of the penalty shootout?
It was difficult to fathom the decision as captain Harmanpreet Singh led Rajkumar Pal, Sukhjeet Singh, Shamsher Singh and Abhishek as India’s picks for the penalty shootout. Of course, the team decides these things before the game, meaning only coach Graham Reid can answer why seasoned players like Manpreet Singh (318 games), Akashdeep Singh (222), Mandeep Singh (198) and Lalit Upadhyay (137) were not among the five when the team was in danger of being eliminated from the World Cup.
4. Why is “making a chance” a rhetoric in Indian hockey?
It’s not that India didn’t create chances or didn’t have enough shots on target. The attacking style the team plays gives them enough chances to score, but the numbers around ‘circle breakout’ get the team nowhere unless most of that is converted into goals. The goalless draw in the pool game against England is a classic example in this context. If India wins that match, they will top the group and take a direct spot to the quarterfinals.
5. Why couldn’t the team find a solution to their corner (PC) situation four games in a row?
It was one of the most telling points of India’s apology campaign, especially since the game against England when the hosts earned eight corners but failed to convert any. In the four matches so far at this World Cup, India has earned 30 PCs and scored only 5 goals. The sad thing is that there have only been two times when India’s direct drags have scored, once against Wales when the away team pulled out the keeper, this is also the only goal of the specialist Harmanpreet. hitherto. And the second time when Varun Kumar played chess against New Zealand. Harmanpreet has had so much trouble pulling the ball in this World Cup that he also missed a penalty against Spain.


Photo PTI
6. What exactly were Bram Lomans’ inputs during last December’s Indian corner experts camp?
Ironically, Dutch drag-flick expert Bram Lomans was invited by Hockey India to organize a camp for Indian drag-flickers a month before the World Cup. What was the input for Indian players during that weeklong camp is another question awaiting answer, namely since Harmanpreet went completely colorless throughout the tournament in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar.
7. Why didn’t the team reassess the fitness of Tokyo Olympics hero Simranjeet Singh before announcing the 18-man team, while Varun Kumar, who was dropped from the core group at the same time as Simranjeet, was called up again. National camp before the selected team?
It was again a hindsight, but Hardik Singh’s injury kept him out after the billiards game against England that won’t have much of an impact on India if the attacking midfielder and Championship winner world junior Simranjeet Singh in round 18 or out of two substitutes (subs).
For fitness-related reasons, Simranjeet was dropped from the core group a few months before the World Cup. If he’s not fit, perhaps it makes more sense to keep him in the core group and the national team, which would give him the best chance of returning to full fitness before the World Cup, if the team leadership finds him unsuitable. . But Simranjeet was denied that opportunity. However, Varun Kumar, who may have been sanctioned for his mistakes during the Commonwealth Games, has been re-introduced to the core group.
Additionally, the omitting strikers Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh were decisions that were also questioned when India’s World Cup squad was announced, which saw Lalit Upadhyay injured first there and midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad returned. Both have poor records at this World Cup, except for Lalit’s only opening match against New Zealand.


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