The 24-year-old midfielder also spoke about recovering from a complicated injury.

Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Sumit, who is currently training for the Tokyo Olympics at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Centre in Bangalore, states that the team has been closely watching the ongoing FIH Pro League Matches. He said that they are analysing other team’s style of play and structure to use them during their practice sessions.   

“We have been closely watching the teams who are currently playing their Pro League matches. All the players are analysing their style of play and structure to use them during our practice sessions. We create the same match scenarios or use a particular team’s structure during our internal practice games. It’s really effective, and we are trying to make the most out of it,” said Sumit, who has played 66 matches for the national side. 

The midfielder got an opportunity to play for the Indian team on their recent tour of Argentina. He played his first high-level competition since India’s Pro League matches against the Netherlands in January 2020. Speaking about making a comeback after a long hiatus, he said, “I was a bit nervous initially because I was playing after a very long time. But, at the same time, I was very excited to be back in the team, and play against Olympic Champions Argentina.”

On Argentina tour

“I had suffered a wrist injury during the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar in 2019, so I was out for almost six months. After recovering, I did get a chance to play during our Pro League Matches against the Netherlands in Bhubaneswar in January 2020, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like I made a strong comeback to the team. After that, we didn’t get much competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic situations. Hence, there were mixed feelings on the Argentina tour initially, but I am really happy with the opportunity I got, and I feel I did well.”

Speaking about the takeaways from the Argentina tour, Sumit said, “The results from recent tour reflect that we are on the right path for our Olympics. However, I think we can improve more on our attack. We should play attacking hockey, and try to convert the chances we get in the first three or five minutes of the game so that we can capitalise on the early leads.”

“Comparing both Europe and Argentina tour, I feel there has been a constant improvement, and we are working hard to maintain this consistency. On a personal level also, I think I can play more attacking hockey. There’s still a lot more to improve on my attacking skills, and I am giving 100% to it.”

With the clock ticking towards the Olympics, Sumit feels there is a great atmosphere around the team, and everyone’s really excited about the quadrennial event. 

“There is a great atmosphere around the team. Everyone’s really excited about the Olympics. We are itching to perform and give our everything for our biggest dream, the Olympics,” he concluded. 

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