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Men's Hockey Pro League

Major takeaways from India's performance in home leg of Men's FIH Pro League 2023-24

Published at :February 28, 2024 at 10:36 PM
Modified at :February 28, 2024 at 10:36 PM
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(Courtesy : Hockey India)

Ashish Sharma

India faced just one defeat in the home leg.

The Indian men’s hockey team recently concluded their campaign in the home leg of Men’s FIH Pro League 2023-24 season with a commendable performance that showcased both strengths and areas for improvement.

Led by captain Harmanpreet Singh, the team fine-tuned their preparations for the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024 with three wins from eight matches and just one defeat in the Bhubaneswar and Rourkela leg. As they reflect on their journey in the Pro League, let us delve into the highs and lows of their performance.

Here are the major takeaways from India’s campaign in the home leg of Men’s FIH Pro League 2023-24.

Penalty corner prowess

The Indian men’s hockey team, under the leadership of captain Harmanpreet Singh, demonstrated a commendable performance in the FIH Pro League 2023-24. A significant highlight was their potency in penalty corner conversions, with more than half of their goals originating from these set-pieces.

The formidable trio of Harmanpreet Singh, Jugraj, and Amit Rohidas, bolstered by Araijit Hundal, underscored the team’s reliance on this scoring strategy. However, the resilience of opponents like Ireland and Spain highlighted the need for diversification in scoring strategies, particularly in open-play situations.

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Forwards: Stars in the spotlight, yet room for growth

The forward line, spearheaded by Akashdeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay, showcased creativity and initiative but faced criticism for their profligacy in front of the goal. Despite flashes of brilliance, Akashdeep Singh struggled with inconsistency. With emerging talents like Abhishek, Sukhjeet, and Sanjay making their mark, the veterans are in a race against time to secure their spots under the watchful eyes of Coach Craig Fulton.

Harmanpreet Singh
Harmanpreet Singh top scored for India with eight goals (Courtesy: Hockey India)

Defence: A pillar of strength with room for improvement

The defence exhibited solidity but encountered structural lapses, particularly against formidable opponents like Australia. The need for increased speed, stamina, and defensive cohesion became apparent, emphasizing areas for improvement in the quest for Olympic success.

Midfield remains driving force

The midfield quartet of Hardik Singh, Sumit, Vivek, and Manpreet emerged as the driving force, orchestrating the team’s movements and creating scoring opportunities. Their versatility and creativity provided a crucial link between defence and attack, underscoring their importance to the team’s success. While goalscorers often claim the spotlight, the success of India’s campaign rests significantly on the shoulders of these playmakers.

PR Sreejesh
Senior pro PR Sreejesh stood tall in all eight matches while his understudy Krishan Pathak also impressed (Courtesy: Hockey India)

Goalkeepers as usual stand up when called upon

Both goalkeepers, PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak, showcased commendable performances, exhibiting agility, reflexes, and decision-making skills between the posts. With each game serving as a platform for evaluation, the coaching staff faced the daunting task of selecting the most reliable custodian for the team’s Olympic campaign. The goalkeeping duel added an extra layer of intensity to the team’s preparations, ensuring that only the best performer would earn the coveted starting position in goal.

As the countdown to the Paris Olympics continues, India must harness the lessons learned from the home leg of the Men’s FIH Pro League to strengthen their bid for Olympic glory. The journey of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team in the FIH Pro League was a testament to their resilience, talent, and determination. While they showcased notable strengths in penalty corner conversions and midfield control, areas requiring improvement were also identified, particularly in open-play scoring and defensive solidity.

With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, the team must build upon their successes and address their shortcomings to position themselves as formidable contenders on the global stage.

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