Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Graham Reid is convinced that India need to tighten the defence in the build-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The Indians recently completed a successful four-match Europe tour where they remained unbeaten, registering two wins and as many draws.
Even though national camps were going on at the SAI (Sports Authority of India) centre in Bengaluru during the pandemic, the Indian men’s hockey team was starving for International action, with the last assignment coming back in January-February last year during the FIH Hockey Pro League in January and February. The recent Europes tour was a great opportunity to get back their flow at the world stage and start preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
To the surprise of many, India fared brilliantly in Europe, having won two and drawn in their other two in the four-match fixture. While India thrashed Germany 6-1 and followed it up with a 1-1 score later on, Graham Reid’s side started with a 1-1 draw against Great Britain and ended the tour with a 3-2 over the same opponent. Even though they’ve been unbeaten throughout the course of the trip, the chief coach is convinced that they need to tighten the defence in the build-up to the 2021 Games.
“The first things that require attention is making sure we tighten our defence. We allow them (opponents) to come back in the middle (of the game) a bit too much. The last match was a little bit better. We are starting to make some ground on that." "We are getting into the 25-mark a lot, we found that during our FIH Pro League matches too but we need to get better returns from our 25 entries. Convert them into circle entries, goal shots, and penalty corners," said Graham Reid, after the tour concluded.
With the mega-event on the cards, the Indian team is going be busy in the next few months, with them set to touch Argentina for the FIH Pro League matches. As per the coach, he wants to use the time in between tours and competitions to work on things they lack.
"We go back to Bengaluru from here and will be training there for a few weeks before we set out on another tour of our FIH Pro League matches in Argentina. I believe the next few months leading up to Tokyo is going to be busy for us with competition and some training in between where we will work on the things we need to.