New Delhi: Over the past week, the Indian men’s hockey team have focused on improving their defending skills. The team is under the eyes of chief coach Graham Reid and analytical coach Chris Ciriello. Two-time World Cup winner Australian Fergus Kavanagh, who is working with the team on an invitation by Hockey India, a media release stated.
The Indian defender feels Kavanagh’s tips in tackling and positioning will play a key role in team’s outing at the Olympic Test Event next month in Japan.
Surender Kumar one of the most reliable defenders in the current Indian team said, “When we played matches in Australia in May this year, we really felt that we fell short in our defence. We made errors that led to conceding PCs and we also gave away goals in pressure situations. When we regrouped in Bhubaneswar for the FIH Men’s Series Finals, our priority was to get our defence right. Though we eventually managed to execute what we had worked on, it’s now important to show the same consistency against higher ranked teams.”
At the Olympic Test event in Japan, India will play against nemesis Malaysia, New Zealand and hosts Japan. The event will start from August 17 and Surender feels the results of this defender’s camp will show during this event.
“No doubt this Camp has been very beneficial for the team. We have been watching our previous match videos and working on minor details such as the distance that needs to be maintained between forwards and defence line,” Surender added.
“It’s now important that we execute what we have been doing in these practice sessions in match situations. When we train, we do create mock pressure situations and working with Fergus has been fun because he brings that player-enthusiasm to each session and as a player I admired him for his ability of making zero errors in most tense situations. Though I never played against him I have watched him closely during Hockey India League and having him train with us now is fun and I am sure will be result-oriented,” he continued.