rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Forget intensity, the Indian team just played for 15 minutes

Forget intensity, the Indian team just played for 15 minutes

Last updated on: July 31, 2012 13:56 IST

Forget intensity, the Indian team just played for 15 minutes

     Next

Next
Pargat Singh / PTI

Pargat Singh is former India hockey captain. He represented India in three Olympic Games between 1988 and 1996. He is the only man to captain India in two Olympics -- at Barcelona '92 and Atlanta '96.

Indian hockey fans cannot be faulted for feeling dejected at the team's performance in the first outing at the London Olympics against The Netherlands.

-London Olympics 2012 - Full coverage

The 3-2 scoreline in favour of The Netherlands barely tells the entire story.Beside the fact that the Dutch clinched three points and India started with zero point from the first match.

A big factor is the way team India played -- or did not play.India can count themselves lucky that some breaks came their way in the second half and they managed to score those two goals, but that is just a part of the big picture.


Image: The Netherlands' Marcel Balkestein and India's Sandeep Singh vie for the ball
Photographs: Eranga Jayawardena/AP Photo

     Next

Hockey fans will be disappointed

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The hockey fans in India will have a feeling of disappointment in the manner in which the Indians played. It has been billed as India's return to the Olympic Games after eight years.

The gap was because India had failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and just two members of the Indian hockey team were the link with the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

It will not be a big surprise if a player, making his first appearance in the Olympics, gets overawed by the occasion for a short duration.

But how does one explain an entire team forgetting all that had been grasped over months in preparation for this occasion.


Image: The Netherlands' Marcel Balkestein leaps out of the way as India's Shivendra Singh moves toward the goal
Photographs: Bullit Marquez/AP Photo

Prev     Next

India simply did not seem to be playing in the first half

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The Indian team simply did not seem to be playing in the first half against the Dutch. They are a strong side but not of the same class that the Dutch team possessed in the past.

The Indian team just about played competitive hockey for some 14-15 minutes. They were simply not there in the first half.The first goal India conceded was a very soft goal.

Dutch striker Robert van der Horst did well to create space and have a clear look at the Indian goal before firing from top of the circle.

Bharat Chetri, the Indian captain and goalkeeper, was expected to stop that shot.He should have got the pad out to his left and block it.

Instead, what we saw was the ball travelling past a surprised goalkeeper.


Image: The Netherlands' Marcel Balkestein, right, and India's Sunil SV battle for ball possession
Photographs: Bullit Marquez/AP Photo

Prev     Next

For a brief period the Indians managed to exert some pressure

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The other two Dutch goals came from penalty corners and showed that Netherlands have a new generation of shooters ready to take over from Taeke Taekema, who is not playing the Olympics due to injury.

Manpreet Singh almost brought off a fine save on the low penalty corner shot from Roderick Weusthof, but failed to establish control over it and the ball went over the goal-line.

There was no challenge to the rising penalty corner drag-flick from Mink van der Weerden that ended just under the crossbar and turned out to be the match-winner.

Things did look slightly different during the second session when India eventually managed to play their own game, and what a difference it seemed to make!

For a brief period the Indian players came into the picture and managed to exert some pressure. They could have actually inflicted more damage.


Image: India's Shivendra Singh celebrates his goal
Photographs: Eranga Jayawardena/AP Photo

Prev     Next

A bit more luck could have earned India a draw

Prev     More
Prev

More

Beside the two goals, I think the Indian strikers could have scored at least one more in that short period itself.A bit more luck could have even earned India a draw.

The Dutch team did set a very brisk pace that is their hallmark. And even they seem to be have a lot of inexperienced players in their rung.

Such is the structure of international hockey these days that the top teams do not often come face to face with those in the second rung.

That was essentially the reason that India andNetherlands had not played a match for a long time.

And when the Dutch were drawn in the same pool as India for the Olympic competition, it was good strategy that India did not give them a practice match during the recent tour of Europe.


Image: The Netherlands' Klaas Vermeulen, left, tries to steal the ball from India's Sardar Singh
Photographs: Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
Tags: India , Europe

Prev     More
© Copyright 2013 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.