January 17, 2021
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'Communication A Problem Area'

The player of the tournament at Hamburg identifies lack of communication among team members as one of the reasons for conceding goals in the dying minutes of a match

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'Communication A Problem Area'
'Communication A Problem Area'

Star forward Gagan Ajit Singh has identified lack of communication as one the reasons for the hockey team's last minute choking, which again came to the fore despite India's back-to-back trophy wins at Hamburg and Perth.

Gagan, player of the tournament at Hamburg, said though the team was doing well in most of the departments, conceding goals in the last minutes of a match was an area of concern.

"We conceded a goal against Germany in the dying minutes and (earlier in Australia) Pakistan scored in the last seconds which helped them to force a draw," he said emphasising more communication among the players was needed to overcome this problem.

Gagan said the team will be working hard to improve on the weak areas to make it three in a row at the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands in August.

"With two important tournament victories under our belt, the team morale has got a tremendous boost. However, there are some weak areas which we are working on to ensure that the current dream run continues," he said.

The Punjab Police officer said the team had also improved in penalty corner conversions. "We are improving in this area and in Hamburg we converted eight goals while in (last month's three-nation invitational tournament) Australia we converted six goals."

Asked which match at Hamburg was the toughest, Gagan said playing against world champions Germany was always a challenge. "We played very good hockey against them even as the pressure of the local crowd is there against you."

On what he had done to improve his own game, Gagan said he had worked hard at receiving the ball. "I have put in hard work in this department and captain Dhanraj Pillay gave me some tips and encouraged me. More practice and a boost in confidence helped me do better."

He said the team had been, in the recent past, concentrating hard on playing attacking hockey. "Earlier, we used to go on the defensive during the opening session but now we attack right from the word go which puts pressure on the opposition. With this strategy, we have been scoring goals in the first half as the team playing against us comes under lot of pressure."

Gagan also pointed to the present senior-junior combination as the mantra for the team's recent successes. "All the players have good understanding and this is helping the team's cause. The junior members are supported by the seniors and we learn a lot from their techniques," he said.

On what was in store, Gagan said the team would not sit on its laurels, but work hard to bring back the lost glory to Indian hockey.

"You know, even the FIH (world hockey body) president has praised our team on its performance," he said.


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