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Keen to regain the rhythm: Hockey dragflicker Rupinder Pal
New Delhi, April 3, 2021
The Indian hockey squad arrived in Buenos Aires late Thursday and seasoned drag flicker Rupinder Pal said that the team was looking forward to play against Olympic champions Argentina.
"Against Argentina, it will be all about finding that rhythm back. It is important to play simple hockey, as Chief Coach Graham Reid always says and not do anything too dramatic. Focus will be on basic skills, strong defence, good on-field communication and coordination with each other," he told Hockey India from Buenos Aires.
"I am super excited to play against the Olympic Champions. It's been a very long break from competitive hockey. My last overseas tour was in September 2019 when we played in Antwerp, Belgium," he said.
"I was in good nick last year, It was unfortunate that I missed India's previous tour to Europe. I had worked really hard and was looking forward to playing against Germany and Great Britain, but I injured my hamstring one week before the team left. It was very disappointing for me personally," the experienced defender was quoted as saying by Hockey India.
During the FIH Hockey Pro League matches last year, Rupinder contributed to the team's campaign with a total of five goals from six matches played in early 2020. In Buenos Aires, Rupinder will be trying to find his old form.
Asked about playing in a bio-bubble and travelling in these circumstances with the ongoing fight against the pandemic, Rupinder said, "We are very used to being in a bio-bubble and understand the protocols very well. As for the travel, we are very grateful to Hockey India and Sports Authority of India for planning the journey in such a way that we don't feel any strain.
"We were all provided with rooms in the airport in Paris where we had a 13-hour layover. This particularly helped us rest and recover. In the airports, too, we were very careful about social distancing and always having our masks on. These measures are necessary to ensure our safety and now we are just waiting to get on with the matches," he said.
India will play their first practice match against Argentina on Tuesday, The visitors are scheduled to play six matches during the 16-day tour including back-to-back FIH Hockey Pro league matches on April 11 and 12.