Birmingham: There is not much a hockey team could do when Australia, the top-ranked team in the world, is on the attack and dominating.
But Manpreet Singh, the captain of the Indian men’s hockey team, said they should have put the Aussies under more pressure, open up the other flank, reduce the pace and defend well so that opportunities for counterattack could be created.
Manpreet gave an insight into what his team could have done well in hindsight after Australia thrashed India 7-0 in the final at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here.
“We need to have more pressure on the Aussies in upcoming tournaments. When they were attacking from one side, we could have opened up the other flank, the midfielders should have moved more balls upfront and we should have created more chances upfront, utilise our strength in drag flick to hurt them,” said Manpreet Singh about what all his team could have done to stop the Aussie juggernaut.
The Indian midfield was totally disjointed in the absence of Vivek Sagar Prasad and Manpreet himself, who injured his right shoulder and had to sit out a large part of the match.
Manpreet said they will study a recording of the match and identify various areas that need improvement.
“It’s a really good team right now. A lot of players are young, so [they] just need to have more experience. This is the experience we are getting from what is right now the best hockey in the world, so we just need to learn,” he said.
Manpreet said he did not expect the match would be so one-sided. “We did not expect that, we had come here hoping for a close fight. We had prepared well and played well in the tournament till the final. So, there was no pressure.”
India had lost to Australia 8-0 in the CWG final in 2010, by 4-0 margin in the 2014 final. With India being thrashed 1-7 in a pool match of the Tokyo Olympics and with the 7-0 defeat on Monday, is India becoming a bogey team for Australia? Manpreet said it was not so and that they have had good days against them too. “Today was a day when nothing went right for us,” he said.