Indian defence reveals some teeth

Once the Achilles Heel, the backline has proven improved sport sense

Sidney Kiran

Sidney Kiran, DHNS,

  • Jan 16 2023, 20: 23 ist
  • up to this point: Jan 17 2023, 08: 03 ist

What has been the Indian hockey’s group Achilles Heel over the closing two a protracted time? Followers of the sport, with out any 2d guesses, will point fingers at the defence. There had been a pair of cases when the group has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory or a blueprint by conceding at the loss of life. Indubitably, heart-broken defensive organisation has normally pulled the group down against high-ranked sides.

That speak appears to be to had been corrected, for now at the least. India delight in performed two matches up to now in the FIH Hockey World Cup, and against sturdy opponents like Spain and England, and they’ve now now not conceded a single goal, guarding their castle with generally viewed discipline and psychological fortitude. The thrilling goalless blueprint against England on Sunday, the put India had been below the pump at the originate and even staunch at the fag dwell which hitherto may maybe maybe delight in cooked their goose normally,  staunch reveals how far this backline has attain by design of self-perception and going through gruesome stress.

Between the Seventh and ninth minute, a charged-up England earned as many as five penalty corners. India merely didn’t delight in sufficient time to even bewitch a breath as England saved the foot firmly on the accelerator, hoping to journey one-up in the very significant conflict. It turned into as soon as a inconvenience the put even strong defences may maybe maybe delight in conceded goal. India even supposing saved their focus intact amidst huge stress to thwart all of England’s makes an try.

Even when the action flowed from one dwell to one other in a inviting 2d and third quarter, the defence generally seemed out of kind. The seasoned quartet of Harmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas — all with over 100 global caps every between them — and the young duo of Jarmanpreet Singh and Nilam Sanjeep Xess co-ordinated properly between them at various stages to make certain that the targets-against column remained nil. 

Yes, there had been about a fumbles here and there round their very bear D but that turned into as soon as largely on account of the breakneck dash at which the sport turned into as soon as performed. But on the few events the defensive line turned into as soon as breached, aged goalkeeper PR Sreejesh — taking half in in his fourth World Cup — and his young apprentice Krishan B Pathak had been alert sufficient to foil it.

It’s now now not staunch the defenders alone who had been instrumental in India’s defensive solidity. Frail skipper Manpreet Singh did some amazing work as an on-rusher during penalty corners, instant getting off the line and slicing the angles to disclaim England coast-flickers from executing their plans. His midfield partners Hardik Singh and Shamsher Singh, each blessed with oodles of natural dribbling abilities, controlled the tempo properly at the centre, making some beautiful solo runs as smartly to distribute passes smoothly to the forward line-up.

The icing on the cake turned into as soon as how India didn’t bungle when England earned their eighth penalty corner with decrease than 15 seconds left for the final hooter. One mistake or particular strike from England then may maybe maybe delight in deflated the morale. Nicholas Bandurak whipped in a thunderous shot but Surender Kumar, standing on the goal line, got a extraordinarily significant touch before the ball deflected onto the corrupt bar and to security.

More challenging tests will attain calling in the knockouts the put even one mistake may maybe maybe spell doom to their medal ambitions. The performances against England and Spain even supposing will give them the boldness they need.

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