London [U.K]: Ahead of their first Pool B match on Thursday, Indian Men’s Hockey Team Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans emphasized on a better goal conversion rate to ensure a successful outing at the Hockey World League Semi Final to be held in London.
The lead up to the opening encounter saw the Indian team led by midfielder Manpreet Singh win the practice match against England 3-1 on Tuesday with a successful drag flick by Harmanpreet Singh and a double goal by striker Mandeep Singh.
“To win this kind of tournaments we have to get a higher percentage of goals out of our opportunities and concede less unnecessary goals. If we can manage this aspect of the game then anything is possible to achieve for this team,” emphasized Dutchman Roelant Oltmans.
The last time India played in London, the team created history by winning a Silver Medal at the FIH Champions Trophy.
However, with ace dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh and SK Uthappa being ruled out of the Tournament, India will bank heavily on the young Harmanpreet Singh to convert short corners.
“With a strong Core Group who have been working together since February this year, we have several options of strong players.” stated Oltmans.
While Uthappa who returned home for a family emergency will be replaced by Sumit, defender Jasjit Singh Kular has been called in place of Rupinder Pal Singh who is being rested due to a minor injury.
India will look to notch up a winning start against Scotland followed by their second match to be played against Canada on June 17.
Though the last time Team India met Canada was at the Rio Olympics where they drew the match, the team’s real challenge will be to get past an unpredictable Pakistan on June 18 before they face World No.4 The Netherlands on June 20. India’s record against Pakistan in recent matches has been a big positive with the team winning against Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy 2016 as well as last year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Against The Netherlands, India had narrowly lost 2-1 in the Pool Stage at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“You always want to start well in the Pool Stage. Playing a Tournament like the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final (Men) is always challenging with a number of strong teams in the competition. The Pools are equally strong too but based on the ranking in our Pool, we have to get a good start against Scotland,” stated Oltmans.
The Indian men’s hockey squad is as follows:
Akash Chikte, Vikas Dahiya, Pardeep Mor, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice-captain), Satbir Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh ( captain), Harjeet Singh, Sumit, Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh. (ANI)