FIH Series Finals | India is stepping in the right way, opines Vickram Kanth

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FIH Series Finals | India is stepping in the right way, opines Vickram Kanth

Former India international Vickram Kanth is of the opinion that the Indian hockey team is stepping in the right direction with a good mix of a lot of youngsters and a handful of seniors in the side. Kanth also stated that new chief coach Graham Reid has to quickly get into the Indian set-up.

All eyes are on the Indian hockey team at the moment as they are playing in the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. Although India is the best-ranked team in the tournament with South Africa and Japan being the next two, there is still a lot of importance given to the tournament by the current team and the former players as well. The Pundits and experts know that this is the tournament which will take India closer to making it to the Tokyo Olympics to be held next year. 

According to former India A skipper and Indian midfielder Vickram Kanth, the team is stepping in the right direction by having a good number of youngsters and a few of the seniors in the 18-member squad for the important event.

“I think they are stepping in the right way with the mix of a lot of youngsters and a handful of seniors are there. So, I think they are building up and taking up slowly step by step. As you know in these qualifiers (FIH Series Finals), the teams are not up to the Indian rankings. 

“So, I think they are testing the new guys and the old guys are there. How they are performing their performance is being assessed,” Kanth told during an exclusive interaction with SportsCafe.

Meanwhile, there have been some question marks raised on the Indian defence due to their recent errors at the crucial junctures of the match. Especially, with India conceding goals in the last 10 minutes or so, the Indian defence has to face the ire of the hockey fans. However, Kanth feels that the reason is not a fault in the system but a few of the individual errors.

“The goals we have conceded recently in the last few minutes is because of the individual errors. It’s not about the system, it’s individual errors which cost us those goals. We need to be careful individually and strategize the last 5-10 minutes pretty well and not take much risk and be in upper hand all the time,” the midfielder asserted.

 © Hockey India

When asked about the non-selection of a senior member like Rupinder Pal Singh in the team for FIH Series Finals, Kanth replied, “There is a very healthy competition in the defence set up now. Of course, Rupinder has been dropped, but as you see, the defence right now with Rupinder or without Rupinder it’s the same. The competition is very high."

"The experience of Rupinder would be lost but I think all the youngsters who are there are chipping in. The defence has been a strength for the Indian team right throughout. The score margins have been very less. Today’s hockey, it’s not about defending like we always tell ‘the forward is the first line of defence,’ so it starts from there. It starts right from their from the forward line to the defence line.”

Ever since India’s exit in the quarter-final round of the last World Cup, the team was in search of a chief coach which got over in April with Graham Reid taking the charge of the side. Apart from Reid, the team is now having the services of former Indian forward Shivendra Singh as well who is guiding the Indian strikers. Kanth, who has also started to make a transition from a player to a coach now, believes that their experience will be very helpful for the Indian players in the near future. 

“Graham Reid is a very experienced coach and he has worked with the best teams and he has brought results during his tenure with the Netherlands team. I think he has got an immense experience of coaching. We have to see what new he brings to the team. He has to get into the setup. The Indian set up is completely different to the European set-up. So, it is about adaptation, the players adapt to the new techniques of the coaches and that is very important.”

“Shivendra has been a good forward for the Indian team for quite some time. His experience will also matter to the younger lot who are there in the team. So his expertise will be helpful to the team.”

The Karnataka player was in Bhubaneswar for the FIH-Hockey India level coaching course. Although he is currently representing his company Indian Oil on the turf, he wants to make a complete transition into coaching slowly.

“There has to be transition, I have been playing for quite some time. Right now, I am playing for Indian Oil but there has to be a transition sometime because you can not be playing throughout your life. This is the right time for me to slowly get into coaching. I hope to complete the FIH level 1 and get to the next level and gain as much knowledge in coaching,” Kanth signed off. 

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