Younger Indian Group Must Deal with Stress in Asia Cup Hockey Opener in opposition to Pakistan


A second-string Indian males’s hockey crew should tactfully take care of the stress when it opens its title defence in opposition to arch-rivals Pakistan within the Asia Cup on Monday.

Whereas Pakistan has fielded fairly a number of new faces within the match, India will likely be represented by its A’ crew beneath the management of veteran Birendra Lakra, who got here out of retirement after the Tokyo Olympics.


For India, the Asia Cup gives a platform to check its bench energy forward of a busy season, that features the Birmingham Commonwealth Video games and the FIH World Cup subsequent 12 months for which the Tokyo Olympic medallists have already certified because the host nation.

Pakistan, then again, is wanting on the match to make the minimize for the 2023 World Cup in Bhubaneswar. The highest three groups in Asia will qualify immediately for the January showpiece.

Each India and Pakistan have gained the Asia Cup thrice every.

India had gained the final version in 2017 by beating Malaysia within the ultimate in Dhaka.

India’s 20-member squad, to be coached by former captain Sardar Singh, was initially alleged to be led by Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Rupinder Pal Singh, who additionally got here out of retirement however a wrist damage dominated him out of the match.

The Indian squad consists of one other veteran in SV Sunil, who too returned from retirement and is considered a livewire on the sphere.

Sunil, who had missed the Tokyo Olympics squad attributable to an damage, will function Lakra’s deputy.

The Indian crew has as many as 10 gamers who’re set to make their senior India debuts, together with Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Manjeet, Vishnukant Singh and Uttam Singh. They had been all a part of the junior World Cup.

Moreover, the aspect additionally has new gamers like Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev and S Karthi and it stays to be seen how Sardar will get the perfect out of those kids.

The brand new gamers know {that a} good outing within the Asia Cup can open the doorways for the Commonwealth Video games crew because the nationwide selectors and chief coach Graham Reid can be intently following the proceedings.

For India, Simranjeet Singh, who was a part of the Tokyo Olympics squad, will make a comeback within the forwardline after a protracted damage lay-off.

However the onus can be on the handful of seniors to information the children within the conflict.

It (stress) is at all times there (in Pakistan match). Any match in opposition to Pakistan is at all times charged up. However being seniors, if we develop into too excited, the junior gamers can come beneath stress. So we have to take it as a traditional match, India vice-captain Sunil stated.

It isn’t a simple match but when we play in keeping with our plan we are able to win. We have to inspire the children, information them and take them alongside. So there are huge tasks on our shoulders.

Pakistan will likely be approaching the match after a combined bag tour of Europe beneath new coach Siegfried Aikman, the place the crew performed 5 matches — two every in opposition to the Netherlands and Spain and one in opposition to Belgium — out of which it gained two.

With each the groups having kids, it stays to be seen how the gamers management their feelings and tempers on the turf.

After Pakistan, India will play Japan on Tuesday within the second Pool A match and hosts Indonesia on Could 26.

Malaysia, Korea, Oman and Bangladesh are clubbed in Pool B.

Within the different video games on the opening day, Malaysia will play Oman and South Korea will tackle Bangladesh in Pool B, whereas Japan will face Indonesia in Pool A.

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