Hockey team sweating it out to tighten defence, says Rupinder

File Photo : Rupinder Pal Singh
IANS|26-Feb-2018 20:53

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Defender Rupinder Pal Singh on Monday said that the Indian hockey squad is trying its best not to repeat the defensive mistakes it did in the four-nation invitational hockey tournament in New Zealand.

Sjoerd Marijne-coached India lost to Belgium twice in the finals in two legs of the tournament that also featured Japan, apart from the hosts.

"We realised that there were a lot of errors in our defensive part in New Zealand. At the ongoing national camp, we are trying to correct the mistakes and hopefully not to repeat them in future," Rupinder said on the sidelines of the event to announce Edelweiss Financial Services Limited as sponsor of the Indian contingent for this year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and National Games 2018 and 2019.

"We are working on defensive aspects, things like man-to-man marking. We were giving away easy chances in the inner circle and we are trying to improve on those aspects," the 27-year-old from Faridkot added.

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Rupinder, who also has the responsibility of drag-flick specialist, said that the team will aim to win gold at the Commonwealth Games after finishing runners-up to Australia in 2010 and 2014.

"On the given day, we can beat any team, including Australia. We want to win the gold. I think we have the best chance to beat Australia and win the gold this time," he said.

"We are playing attacking hockey now, it has become one of our strengths. We have improved over the years and we believe that the gap between us and them is getting reduced," Rupinder stressed.

Rupinder also backed Hockey India (HI)'s policy of rotation policy. "We are still in the process of selecting the best 18, so a lot of players are being given chances and there is a rotation policy which ensures that more players get a chance," he said.