We Can Avoid Getting Cards: Indian Men’s Hockey Team’s Harmanpreet Singh

India skipper Harmanpreet Singh is happy that his team could maintain composure despite making errors against strong opponents at the FIH Pro League but said one area where they need to work on is to avoid getting cards.

The Indian men’s hockey team produced a solid showing at the Pro League last week, defeating New Zealand 7-4 and then going past Spain 3-1 in shootout at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Harmanpreet, who led India in the tournament, insisted that there are still certain areas where the team can improve as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, from January 13 next year.

“The team’s efforts have been quite good in these matches but we can avoid getting cards. Because even if we lose one player on the field, then everyone has to run twice as much,” he said in a release issued by Hockey India (HI).

“We do train for how we have to create our formation and structure if we are a man short. Hence, despite getting the cards, we were able to defend well. But still, it is important for us to avoid getting cards.”

Surender Kumar and Manpreet Singh had received green cards in the 14th and 21st minutes, respectively, during the second match against Spain.

The Indian drag flicker said the team can gain confidence from the fact that they were able to held their nerves in pressure situation against strong teams.

“It is good that we are making errors in these matches from which we can learn from and improve as we move on towards the World Cup. We are still able to settle down despite the errors and not lose our composure.

“It definitely helps us in building our confidence in each other, and improving the team,” he said.

Placed in Pool D along with Wales and England at the World Cup, India and Spain will meet each other in their opening match on January 13.

“When you look at the match, it was a high-intensity contest. Both teams were fighting till the end. Spain is in our World Cup pool match so playing against them will help us going into the tournament,” he said.

“They are also reading us and we are also getting a chance to analyse them before the tournament and to keep a stock of their strengths. We will work on our shortcomings and improve upon making clean baseline tackles,” he signed off.

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