Hockey: India looking for encore against New Zealand
Bhubaneswar, November 3, 2022
India will be looking for an encore as they take on New Zealand in the second leg of the double-header of the FIH Pro League to be played at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here on Friday.
India opened their campaign with a stunning come-from-behind 4-3 win against New Zealand. However, the hosts lost their next game to Spain 2-3.
For tomorrow's game, India's Chief Coach Graham Reid said that, after watching the game tapes, they have devised plans to improve their game this weekend. "I think in terms of fitness we are good. We have done some agility work this week and the entire team has been on top of the fitness scale. But it's more of a mental thing to be switched on throughout the match and not show dominance in patches. That's where our focus will be this weekend," he said.
When asked about the team's lapses in defence, particularly in giving away penalty corners, Reid emphasized, "We are looking to press more. We conceded too many opportunities. Although I was pleased with our defensive structure in the match against Spain, we let ourselves down in vital areas, making two or three mistakes that cost us dearly."
Commenting on the coach's views, captain Harmanpreet Singh said, "In our practice sessions this week, we went through some scenarios that needed improvement basis our performance in the previous matches. Our tackling ability outside the D can be much better and not give any room for the opponents to create space. I think these small things have to be kept in mind to ensure we come out of the next two games with winning points."
Meanwhile, New Zealand are focusing on the positives and hoping to record their first win of the season after two consecutive losses.
"Playing India in India is a fixture no one wants to miss. It's a great atmosphere here and we feel like the first two games had some positives although we didn't win. The players are in a good place mentally and physically after the first two matches and are looking forward to this weekend," New Zealand’s Head Coach Greg Nicol said.
Elaborating on adapting to a new style of play, Nicol said, "We want to play an exciting brand of hockey. We want to play more attacking hockey, while we are making those changes, we are going to make mistakes and that's where we were punished last week."
"Going forward we want to continue to play attacking style but try and reduce the number of errors we make. For this weekend, we will bring in different tactics for different teams (India and Spain) and focus on getting the result we need," he added.