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Hockey Women: Argentina tour provided much-needed exposure, says forward Sharmila
New Delhi, February 8, 2021
Promising striker Sharmila Devi feels that the Indian women's hockey team's tour to Argentina provided the players much-needed exposure required in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
The 19-year-old from Hisar was of the view that this exposure in Argentina will hold in good stead as the team prepares for the prestigious Olympic Games.
"Playing in Argentina was a very different experience. The opponent was no doubt very challenging, which made this tour exciting, but the way everything was organized and playing in a bio-secure bubble was a different experience altogether.
"Even the hotel we stayed at took extra care in ensuring our comforts and the food was suitable to our palate which is rarely ever the case when we travel. We are very grateful to Hockey India for ensuring a safe environment for us to compete. Though we are disappointed we didn't secure a win, the lessons from this exposure will help us prepare best for the Olympic Games," Sharmila said.
In Argentina, Sharmila scored twice for India in low-scoring games that proved crucial for the team against a top-quality side who are ranked No. 2 in the world.
"The Indian Team was playing against Argentina after nearly four years. The senior players who had previously played against Argentina in 2017 recalled how strong a team they are and how important it is for us to execute our plans perfectly.
"Though we were quite effective against them and came very close to winning, I felt we should work a lot more on converting opportunities in the circle. We were making enough and more circle entries but were unable to convert," the forward told Hockey India, highlighting the area which they will be working on when the core group returns to National Camp on 14 February.
She also lauded the efforts of Hockey India in ensuring the tour was well-organised despite these trying circumstances due to the pandemic.
The young striker has been proving her mettle in every opportunity she gets. Be it her first outing for the Indian Team at the Tokyo Test Event in 2019 or the FIH Olympic Qualifiers where she showed her raw talent by scoring an important goal against the USA which propelled the team's 5-1 victory in the first match.
"I played my first match for the Senior side in 2019 and ever since then, I have been getting fantastic exposure with the team and I am happy to receive these opportunities and want to make each one count," she added.