India men’s hockey team captain Amit Rohidas has asked his players to adhere to the plans and strategies as they take on a young and highly motivated England side in the FIH Pro League double-header at the Kalinga Stadium on April 2 and 3.
“They (England) have a lot of young players in the team, and they have come with a lot of motivation. Each team plays to win matches, so it will certainly be a good challenge for us. Our focus will be to stick to our plans, just like we did against Argentina. We managed a draw in the first game and won the second game at the last minute.
“It was a really good performance from the team, so it will be really important to play according to the plans and strategies that we make against our opponents,” Rohidas said during the pre-match virtual press conference.
Rohidas, who recently took over as India captain, also spoke about his new role. “It’s been a great experience so far. I am getting to learn a lot of things from the senior players — Manpreet (Singh), (PR) Sreejesh, and Harmanpreet (Singh). They have been really supportive; they are keeping the team together. It feels really great to get the support from these players.”
Currently placed second on the Pro League points table, India has thus far registered five wins and three losses in eight matches. They have beaten South Africa (10-2, 10-2) and registered mixed results in the doubleheader against France (5-0, 2-5) held in South Africa in February, while in home games, they shared the honors with Spain (5-4, 3-5) and against Argentina they registered 2-2 (1-3 SO) and 4-3 results in a thrilling two-legged tie.
Reflecting on the team’s campaign, vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh said, “It’s been going really great from the team’s perspective. Mainly our focus has been to get stronger match by match. We are learning from our mistakes, we are getting to know a lot of new things, so just maintaining that we are making the most out of these Pro League Matches to prepare for the major tournaments. Even younger players are getting chances to play, and in each match, we try to give our best, so it’s really helping the team.”
England has registered two wins and two losses in four matches so far. They started their campaign with wins against Spain, but are coming off two losses against Argentina.
England captain Tom Sorsby said, “It’s just important that we sort of keep in mind where we are as a group, we are still coming together and finding our ways to build. We showed what we can do against Spain, and even against Argentina we put together some great parts of that game, which weren’t all bad, so just taking the positives that we have from Argentina, with the wins from Spain and will try to put that against India in these two games.”
England head coach Zak Jones said that matches against Argentina have prepared his team for the double-header against India.
“I think there are a lot of similarities in the way Argentina and India play, so we feel that the games against Argentina have hopefully, prepared us relatively well for the sort of India play,” said Jones.
“We know India is a really good side and they are playing pretty well at the moment, so I think for us it will be to play our game, which is to look after the ball, try and wear them down, play some positive hockey. We’ve got quite a lot of inexperienced players as well, so they have learned a lot from Argentina games and hopefully can bring those learnings in these two games against India,” he concluded.