Not Bothered By Circumstances, Eyes On Tokyo: Nikki Pradhan

Bengaluru:  Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Nikki Pradhan said on Saturday that the girls were not looking at whether they would get to play the next tour or not due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation but only concentrating on training for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We don’t want to think about whether we will get to play the next tour or not. With the changing dynamics around the globe due to Covid-19, our chief coach tells us not to think of the issues that are not in our control. We are just happy to be training hard at the SAI (Sports Authority of India) Centre in Bengaluru,” said Pradhan.

With less than 100 days to go for the Olympics, Pradhan feels the tours of Argentina and Germany earlier this year have provided the team with the impetus to prepare for the quadrennial games.

“The experience of playing against world No. 2 Argentina and world No. 3 Germany has been very crucial in our preparations for the Olympics. Many youngsters in the team had never faced teams of such calibre and the team’s stats against these top nations projects the areas we need to work on. That is the focus of our ongoing camp,” said the experienced midfielder.

Pradhan, who became the first hockey player from Jharkhand to compete at the Olympics when she played in 2016 Rio, said that there is a lot of scope to improve particularly in converting goal-scoring opportunities.

“The good part about these matches was that we were showing improvement match-by-match. Both Argentina and Germany play with very unique styles and facing them in their home ground is always challenging but we held strong,” she said.

“I believe we still have a lot of scope to improve in our attack and the focus is on bettering our conversion rate in the circle. At the same time, I feel the communication particularly between midfielders and forwardline has improved a lot over the past few years mainly because we have played together for so long,” she added.