Indian men’s hockey coach Graham Reid has stated that they have selected a well-balanced team for the FIH Series Finals by including striker Ramandeep Singh and defender Varun Kumar. Reid said that the Indian team’s focus during the tournament in June will be on the consistency of performance.
The FIH Series Finals, which will be played from June 6 in Bhubaneswar is going to be the first step for the Indian hockey team for their Olympic qualification process. The 18-member Indian team was announced for the event today and after staying away from the team for nine months, experienced forward Ramandeep Singh has been selected for the crucial event. Apart from him, defender Varun Kumar, who was rested for the tour to Australia, has also been included for the FIH Series.
Coach Graham Reid is of the belief that the team management has picked up a balanced side for the important eight-team tournament.
“I am very much looking forward to my first FIH tournament as Chief Coach of the Indian team. The FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 is an important step in the Olympic qualification process,” Reid was quoted as saying by Hockey India.
“We have selected a well-balanced group including Ramandeep Singh, who is returning from injury and Varun Kumar who was rested for the Australian tour. Sumit and Amit Rohidas too return to bolster our defensive capabilities and our Penalty Corner. Simranjeet also returns to add some flexibility and strike power to the forward-line.”
The Indian hockey team had toured Australia as a part of the preparation for the FIH Series Finals where they had lost both the games against the senior team after securing one win each against the WA Thundersticks and Australia A teams. The team has been in Bhubaneswar for last one week and preparing for the upcoming event under the guidance of chief coach Reid.
Ried also stated that the tour Down Under made the management aware about the level that India needs to play to do well against top hockey playing nations of the world. He also stressed on the importance of few key skills of the Indian players ahead of the tournament.
“Our focus for the tournament will be consistency of performance. To achieve this will we need to respect every opposition and give our 100 per cent every quarter, each half, each game. Our goal will be to be the best team we can be,” the coach explained.
“The Australian tour made us very aware of the level we need to play at to compete with the best teams of the world and we need to aim for that each time we train and each time we play. We are spending a lot of time at the moment on our circle entries, our finishing, tight marking and tackling and we want to see improvements in these areas. PCs are also important and we have chosen three drag flickers to use during the tournament.”
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