New-look hockey workforce relishing future challenges

With fairly a couple of seniors calling time on their worldwide careers, a sobering third-place end on the Asian Champions Trophy final month was a well-timed lesson for the Indian males’s hockey workforce. Both the gamers and the administration at the moment are hoping to begin a busy 2022 on a profitable observe once they step out for his or her opening Pro League video games in opposition to South Africa and France in Potchefstroom in February and keep the momentum via the yr.

“It is never easy being the coach and have legends leave the group and make decisions that are required. My effort has been to build a deeper squad and give as many opportunities as possible to as many players and that was also part of the strength of this group before Tokyo,” chief coach Graham Reid admitted in an interaction with select media on Friday. “As you lose players, you bring the new ones in as quickly as you can and give them enough experience by the time of bigger events like the Asiad.”

The squad options two debutants and Reid sounded impressed by them. “Jugraj Singh is very quick in drag-flick and if we can get some of his speed and make it a little more consistent it would be exciting. But he is also very versatile in the midfield and defense. Abhishek is an all-out striker who loves to score and even in the camp he was quite prolific, so good to have new influx in the group,” the coach explained.

The recent breakout of Covid cases in the squad during training and the large number of positives in various teams across sports have raised questions on the efficacy of standard bio-bubbles but both the coach and captain Manpreet Singh insist they are prepared.

“This is not new for us. Everyone has been constantly keeping us informed on the rules to follow, there will be almost daily tests so we would want to make sure to follow the protocols as much as possible. That will help us focus more on the games,” Manpreet said.

Staying diligent

“We spend a lot of time trying to make sure the bubble is created right from the moment we leave here and the players know what is required in the bus and the aircraft, everywhere. A lot of it is down to the players and places we are going to and the protocols in place,” said Reid. “I think SA know pretty well about it and we have to trust them and the FIH. It’s an ever-changing situation, we need to stay diligent but also be prepared for things to change very quickly,” Reid added.

The stress of being among the many high groups on this planet now sits straightforward on the workforce. “For us it isn’t stress, it’s an achievement. We know that groups will now goal us and attempt to beat us on a regular basis and so we now have to be all the time higher than them. But that is what we now have been taking part in for all our lives and now we’re having fun with this problem,” Manpreet stated.

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