Hockey World Cup: Suspense over Hardik Singh to take on Wales
Will star striker Hardik Singh be available against Wales in India’s last Pool C league match of the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Thursday? The suspense has not ended yet. Even if he is not fielded against Wales, the real concern is whether he will be fit enough to play in the rest of the tournament.
“The MRI report was much better than what we hoped, which gives us a bit of hope for him to be playing again in this tournament. It was certainly better than what we had thought,” Coach Graham Reid told a crowded press conference on Wednesday.
Asked why Indians are finding it difficult to score the field or penalty corner goals, Reid said” Well, we have created a lot of opportunities, a lot of openings, yes we have not been able to convert them into goals, we are working on this area, but I would have been worried if we were not creating the chances. It is a huge competition, the other teams are also well prepared and drilled.”
He admitted that the non conversion of penalty corners is an area of concern but said, “what we are seeing is the next generation of penalty corner defence, that is what we have come to see with video analysis. I think what happens in the World Cup or such big games is that you end up with a team that is well drilled, because everyone is together and trying to work around.. In such a major tournament, every team has the best rushers and they have a well defined role to foil the PC.”
About Thursday’s match, he said, “it’s probably advantageous knowing what your objective is. I don’t think we need to get transfixed to it. It will be dangerous, so we will play normal games, move the ball around , and play simple. No need to continuously worry. My message will be keep it simple, stay patient…Wales is a very good team.”
Captain Harmanpreet Singh was candid enough to admit that the team is not scoring off penalty corners “It’s a good opportunity to score goals from penalty corners, but you are right. We are not able to convert them, hopefully in coming matches…we will try to score off.”
He said, “when we get that update (of what we need to do), it is better. But our focus is to play our best. We are prepared. Focus is on win…but not playing differently.”