After practically 4 many years, India have entered the Males’s FIH Hockey World Cup, which begins from January 13 onwards in Odisha, as an Olympic medalist, having claimed the bronze in Tokyo Olympics. The starvation to construct on the staff’s success shall be intense as India have bagged a bronze medal in 1971, silver in 1973 and a gold in 1975, having its final podium end on the world cup practically 48 years in the past. However former captain of the Indian Nationwide Hockey staff Viren Rasquinha is not seeking to far forward, admitting that the instant purpose for the Indian staff could be going previous the ‘Pool of Dying’ the place they’ve been clubbed with England, Spain, and Wales.
In an interplay with Star Sports activities, Rasquinha spoke on who the gamers to be careful for are on this younger Indian aspect.
“I think some of the key players for India at this World Cup are going to be starting with the goalkeepers and defence. Really, both goalkeepers Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak they are going to play a very important role now with this belief that if you want to win tournaments your goalkeeper has to have an excellent tournament. So there is going to be a lot of burden of responsibility on the shoulders of Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak. Of course Harmanpreet Singh in the defence has such an important role to play, he’s been nominated the FIH world player of the year. He’s been an excellent defender for India for the last few years. Obviously, his penalty corner conversions as well are very very important, he said.
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“In the midfield we have a strong and experienced midfielder, captain Manpreet Singh, there’s Hardik who’s had a great tournament. Young Vivek Sagar Prasad, he’s improving by leaps and bounds. Nilakanta Sharma, he’s a live wire on the pitch and I think in the forward line Abhishek is the young forward that has really impressed me for the last one year. He’s made his debut a little over a year back but i will say that he’s really established his place in the team, he’s had an excellent Commonwealth Games and of course we have experienced players like Mandeep and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay. Overall, it is a strong balanced team and in a team sport like Hockey everyone has to do their role and if everyone plays their role in the best way possible it really enhances India’s chance to get a medal here.”
Rasquinha then picked the 2 hardest groups at this 12 months’s World Cup. “In world hockey, the top 10 nations of the world everyone is strong but right now I would put Olympic gold medallist Belgium and Olympic silver medallist Australia head and shoulders above the rest. I think these two teams have been very solid and extremely consistent in major tournaments so over the last few years. So, for me Belgium and Australia are definitely going to be India’s toughest opponents here at the world cup,” he mentioned.
Rasquinha additionally spoke on how India will fare within the event and the way they’ll handle to get via a troublesome group stage, he mentioned “I think for starters, India has a very tough pool I would almost call it a pool of death with England, Spain, Wales in our pool. It’s definitely not a walk in the park, we’ve seen in the FIH Pro league India has lost to Spain, England is always is a tough team, Wales again have few players of Great Britain, they play a tough and physical game sometimes. So, in major tournaments I’m not really a big fan of looking too much ahead. Our first goal is to get through a very tough pool and we have to stay intensely focussed right from the first match where we go up against Spain.”
[Catch all the action of the 2023 Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup, India vs Spain, on 13th January 2023, 7:00 PM onwards, LIVE & Exclusive on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar]