Hockey: India take on Pak tomorrow
India would be desperate to arrest their poor form and pull off a pride-restoring win when they meet Pakistan in the fifth Test on Friday.india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 17:35 IST
India would be desperate to arrest their poor form and pull off a pride-restoring win when they meet Pakistan in the fifth Test of the bilateral hockey serieson Friday.
Having already conceded the six-match series by losing all the three matches at home and drawing the fourth in Lahore, the Indians would play for honour and ensure they end the contest on a positive note ahead of the Commonwealth Games next month.
In the four matches so far, the forwards have let India down because of their failure to convert moves within the striking circle, evident from the fact that India have scored four goals in all while conceding eight. And of these four, three have come from the strikers.
A more disturbing fact is that India have not been able to earn a single penalty corner in the last two matches despite having an effective drag-flicker in Sandeep Singh.
The defence, in the absence of Dilip Tirkey, has at best been patchy. While Harpal Singh and Kanwalpreet Singh have done some good work to check the Pakistani invasion, Sandeep has not been impressive in the deep defence.
However, promising defender William Xalxo— taken in as a replacement for Dilip Tirkey— has not got enough chances to strengthen the Indian citadel.
The Pakistanis, on the other hand, would like to make amends for their forward line's mistakes which allowed India to hold the hosts to a 1-1 draw in Lahore.
With an able playmaker in their skipper and centre half Mohammed Saqlain and famed forwards in Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abassi and Tariq Aziz, it should not be a problem for the home team to come back to their winning form.