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FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22: After Spain, Indian Men’s Hockey Team gears up for German challenge

~ Indian men’s hockey midfielder Hardik Singh and forward Shamsher Singh spoke about the team’s preparations for the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against Germany ~

Bhubaneswar, 05 March 2022: With four wins and two losses in their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 campaign so far, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team will look to improve on their execution skills when they take on Germany in the two-legged tie at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium on March 12 and 13.

Addressing the media over a virtual press conference on Friday, the Indian Men’s hockey midfielder Hardik Singh and forward Shamsher Singh; who were part of India’s historic Bronze Medal feat at the Tokyo Olympics, spoke about the variety of topics including their successful journey with the team since making their international debut.

“It’s been an incredible journey for me with the team. I made my debut during the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018 and since then I’ve become an integral part of this team. I was part of the 2018 World Cup as well. It’s really special for me to play for my nation at the highest level. I am really thankful to my seniors who have shown immense trust in my abilities on the field. They have created such an atmosphere that it makes very easy for each and every junior to settle down smoothly here in the senior team. So, yeah, it’s been really special,” expressed Hardik.

Meanwhile, Shamsher spoke about how he has matured as a player over the years. “It’s the support and trust from the players that has helped me grow as a player,” he said. “I learnt a lot from my seniors during the lockdown period last year before the Olympics. We used to talk a lot about our game and the team structure through which I could work on my basics. I am still learning a lot of new things in the camp, and I am trying to be consistent with my performance. I am really glad that seniors are helping me out with that as well,” added the young forward.

The Manpreet-led side registered a 5-4 win and a 3-5 loss in their Pro League home leg against Spain last week. Reflecting on the performance, Shamsher said, “We had prepared well for the matches, our speed was good, we also made comebacks, but I reckon we conceded easy goals and we missed out on converting our chances. Tactically speaking, I believe we did better as compared to the first match. The shots that we took were quite good, but as I said we should have availed our chances.”

He further added, “I don’t think that we were lacking in terms of preparation, but I think we need to improve on our execution skills. And, I believe we will surely learn from our mistakes and utilise the lessons in the upcoming matches.”

India had defeated Germany 5-4 in the Bronze Medal playoff to clinch the first Olympic medal in hockey in 41 years. When asked about their game plan for the two-match Pro League tie against Germany, Hardik said that the preparation remains the same as it is for other teams.

“We are focusing more on ourselves rather than the opponents, and identifying on what all things we need to improve. Germany is a strong and experienced team. So, the preparation remains the same as it is for other teams. We will give our 100% with the full energy, and looking forward to executing our plans,” said the 23-year-old midfielder.

The double header between India and Germany will be played on March 12 and 13 at 19:30 hrs IST.

Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD, and Hotstar.

Website : www.hockeyindia.org

Photo : www.hockeyindia.org

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