Bhubaneswar (Odisha): Dragflick specialist Rupinder Pal Singh, who is set to make a return in India colours after nearly six months of injury lay-off, said that defence will be the team’s top priority when they begin campaign at the Hockey World League Final.
Rupinder, who was out of action for six months following a hamstring injury in right leg, said that he has been waiting for this moment.
“This is a fresh start for me. I have learnt new things during this injury period and one of the biggest changes is how I perceive a match. I have waited for this moment very patiently and I am eager to do well here,” he said.
In India’s first warm-up game, Rupinder scored two goals through a penalty corner and a penalty stroke against Olympic Champions Argentina.
Rupinder explained that while the Indian team’s attack is on the rise in their recent performances, the players understand the importance of defence too.
“Personally, defence is my top priority because if you saw our practice match against England, we couldn’t get penalty corners,” he said.
The 27-year-old added, “My belief is that defence wins matches and it’s not that just defenders need to protect our goal post, it is the entire 11 who need to ensure we don’t concede and that’s exactly what we are focused on.”
Apart from his own role as dragflicker and defender for India, Rupinder also plays the role of a mentor guiding youngsters Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey and Amit Rohidas in the backline.
“They know their role well and execute them to perfection but as a senior I motivate them to get the best out of them and they too keep me in high spirit,” he stated.
On December 1, India will take on defending champions Australia in their first Pool B match at the Hockey World League Final here. (ANI)