Rotterdam, June 17 (Ajit Weekly News) After a keen battle against reigning World and Olympic champions Belgium last week, the Indian men’s hockey team will take on table-toppers Netherlands in their last FIH Hockey Pro League double-header matches this weekend here.
“It will be the last two matches of our FIH Hockey Pro League 21/22 campaign and the mood in the team is upbeat. It was a great experience to play these matches, travelling to South Africa earlier in the year, then playing home games and now we play in Europe in front of packed stadium. The league has given us great insights into the top teams and it’s also been a great learning for us in terms of how we must improve as a unit,” said India skipper Amit Rohidas.
Currently third in the pool standings with 29 points, behind Netherlands who are placed first with 31 points and have four more matches to be played while Belgium, also at 31 points, with two more matches to be played against England this weekend, the Indian team is aware its task is cut out if they want to better their placing in the league.
“We have to win both the matches this weekend,” said India’s vice-captain and drag-flick specialist Harmanpreet Singh on the eve of their first match against the Netherlands on Saturday.
“It will be tough matches, playing Netherlands in their home conditions is always challenging but we are prepared for it. The team is definitely aware of where we stand in the points table, and what we need to do to better our final placings, although Belgium like us have just two more matches whereas Netherlands have four more games to be played,” he said.
One of the standout points for India during this season’s FIH Pro League matches was their fighting spirit. Emphasising on it, Rohidas said, “The matches against Belgium were excellent according to me. We kept on fighting till the end, and that was one of the biggest takeaways. It is also nice to see new players adapt to our fast-paced game really quickly and have developed good understanding with the rest of the team.
“This has helped immensely in field positioning, particularly inside the circle and has also helped us in creating options inside the D,” he explained.
With both Netherlands and India on par when it comes to quality and talent in the team, Amit Rohidas and Co. are aware the match will go down to the wire.
“We will have to be at the our best the entire 60 minutes and be alert in all areas,” asserted both the captain and vice-captain in their concluding remarks ahead of the double header.
–Ajit Weekly News