Hardik remains heavy on team management mind, may play more WC games

Chief Coach Graham Reid looks relaxed and is hopeful that injury team schemer and playmaker Hardik Singh incurred during the game against England may not prevent his further participation in the ongoing FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup here.

“A final decision on his playing will be taken tomorrow,” he said at a media briefing.

“Initially, it did not look good for Hardik,” he said. “The MRI was much better than what we have hoped as it gives us a bit of hope for him playing again in this tournament. It is certainly better than what we have thought,” said Graham Reid.

While talking about options in case tomorrow’s decision is adverse for Hardik, Graham Reid said that Rajkumar Pal and Jugraj Singh are options for the team as replacements.

While talking about low conversion of penalty corners in the ongoing World Cup, the Indian coach said that it was the next generation of penalty corners drive as the teams are putting up better defence based on constant video reviews. So far in this tournament, only 12 percent of penalty corners have been converted into goals. Of these four of these came from Australia alone.

Indian skipper and drag flicker said that the team was aware of low conversion of penalty corners. He said that some new drills, including indirect techniques, would be attempted to improve scoring. Harmanpreet Singh said that giving more time to defence in defending will impact both penalty corner takers and defenders.

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Since England and Spain would be playing before India-Wales match, Graham Reid held that it would be beneficial for India to decide what was ex[pected of it against its final pool game opponents. He said that Wales was a good team and strong in corners. “We cannot take chances and will have to go all out to play our best,” he said, “Wales is a very good team. plays like England..They will be hard if you give too much oxygen.”I am not sure of any  specific reason for low scores that’s not hockey…we have created enough opportunities, if we were not doing that, I would be worried. Just focus on execution of skills and put it in the goal..

Talking about holding of tournament at two different venues for the first time, the Indian coach said that “most of you were in Rourkela..it was a big crowd,, one off things happening there…lot of people  paying in the big crowd..to be honest i am very proud of the way my teams played…to have a good hit out like that was very valuable.

Harmanpreet held that it was a good opportunity to score goals from penalty corners,  you are right we are not able to convert many. Hopefully in upcoming matches…we will try to score off drag flicks and hope for proper execution on variations.

“When we get that update (of what we need to do), it is better. But our focus is to play our best. Even if we had a chance to win by only 1 or 2 goals, we are not going in with that mindset,” he said, adding that yes. like in cricket, if you are batting second, you know what you need to score.

“As far as preparations are concerned, there is no difference on whatever we need to do. Focus is on winning and not playing differently.

Elaborating further on penalty corners, Harmanpreet Singh said that “I think we have 40 seconds. We don’t face any problem. But sometimes there is a situation, you take time. But it is good if we get time, when we talk about defence. Conversion nahi…if timing increases, then it is not an advantage. If you are getting time, you can put on safety measures properly, get time.

Prabhjot Singh

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