Harmanpreet Singh’s sudden drop in form is concerning, will give team mental conditioning coach: Dilip Tirkey | Hockey News

BHUBANESWAR: A disappointed Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey Monday, said the captain Harman Preet SinghThe ‘sudden dip in form’ was a cause for concern, although a lack of penalty goals was not the only reason for the home side’s shock and early exit from the FIH Men’s World Cup .
India lost to New Zealand in their crossover game on Sunday in the penalty shootout after the two sides were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation time.
Tirkey said any talk of a change of coach and captain was premature as the World Cup is on and India are due to play the 9th-16th ranking games.
“Harmanpreet was doing very well in the FIH Pro League matches and in the Australian series (of five matches) just before the World Cup. We had high expectations of him but a sudden drop in form in the World Cup world is a concern.” Tirkey, one of the best penalty corner takers of his time, told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“There are also up and coming drag flickers on the team. Drag flickers are very important in modern hockey and we will plan accordingly,” added Tirkey, who had a lengthy meeting with the team on Monday.
“Just a year and a half ago we won a bronze medal at the Olympics, and then not reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup is very disappointing.”
Harmanpreet took most of India’s 26 penalty kicks in the four matches, of which the team scored just five goals.
Harmanpreet itself has only converted two PCs.
“At the end of the day, as I also said earlier, if we don’t score more goals from the penalty spot, we will have problems and that’s what happened yesterday,” said Tirkey, a former Indian captain who has played 412 international matches.
“The strength of the team was scoring from corners. We expected a lot from Harmanpreet. But his films weren’t turning into goals, and we saw that from the first game to the last game. hurts the team.”
Tirkey said India offered the crossover game to New Zealand from a winning position.
“We had enough chances to win the game against New Zealand. We were leading 3-1 and we could have done better in the defensive structure. After that, in the shootout, our two goalkeepers did very well and gave us the chance to win the game, but we also missed the chances in the shootout and lost the game.
“Kahi na kahi jita huwa match ko hum unko de diya hey (Somehow they were offered a match we should have won),” he said.
Harmanpreet could have sealed the game for India in sudden death, but he blew his chance.
“We played aggressive hockey and we got chances (against New Zealand). We had 10 counterattacks and we only scored two, we could have scored more,” Tirkey said.
“Some players we had high expectations of, they couldn’t play. We all accepted it.”
Tirkey, one of the best defenders of his generation, was also unhappy with the performance of the home side’s defensive unit, of which Harmanpreet is the bulwark.
“If we talk about our defence, I feel there was something missing in our defensive structure, we could have done better (against New Zealand).
“We also felt the absence of Hardik Sing, he was playing very well and his injury hurt us. But we could have won the game with the players we have.”
The head coach Graham Reid said on Sunday after the loss to New Zealand that the team needed a mental conditioning coach to move forward, and Tirkey said Hockey India would do the necessary.
“Whatever the team needs, we’re ready to do it. Whatever the needs of the coach and the team, Hockey India has provided them,” he said.
When asked if there would be any changes in the position of coach or captain, Tirkey replied: “We will see later. The World Cup is still going on and any discussion about it is not appropriate.”
India will face Japan in their first ladder match in Rourkela on January 26, before facing an as-yet-unknown opponent on January 28.
Tirkey said the team’s next priority is to do well in the Asian Games, scheduled for this year.
“The Asian Games are very important to us and it is our priority before the Olympics next year,” he said.
“Some players are out of the team due to injury, they will come back. Some players may not have performed well due to pressure. We will provide the team with a mental conditioning coach and we will see .”


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