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Hockey World League Final: AB Subbaiah wants India to play attacking game

Indian hockey team drew one match and lost one match, in their first two ties at the Hockey World League Final so far

other sports Updated: Dec 04, 2017 18:50 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hockey World League Final,AB Subbaiah,Indian Hockey Team
India lost 2-3 against England during the Men's Hockey World League Final 2017 in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.(PTI)

AB Subbaiah, former Indian hockey team goalkeeper and coach, isn’t worried with team’s inconsistent showing in the ongoing Hockey World League Final. But he is concerned with their defensive play, which resulted in 2-3 loss to England in their second league match on Saturday.

He wants the young Indian side to play an attacking game from the start to end and suggests it as the only way of getting success against the rivals. “We need to play an attacking hockey till the end. To match-up with world’s top team this is the only formula to adopt,” Subbaiah told HT on Sunday.

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“Look at team like Germany, which kept the rivals at bay throughout the match on Saturday, but on the other hand our boys in the match against England looked slow and in defensive mode from the very beginning,” he said, adding, “Indian could wake up only after sustaining two goals in the match. Though they came up with some good hockey by restoring parity, they lost steam thereafter.”

Known for his flawless expertise at tiebreakers during his days in the game Subbaiah admitted that India have good bunch of fit youngsters, who can surprise any team in the world, but they need to maintain pace in the match till the end. “Defensive errors in the match let India sustain all three goals against lower ranked England. We could have won the match easily, had we not committed unforced errors,” he said.

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He, however, praised the young goalkeepers Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera for showing well in absence of regular and experienced custodian PS Sreejesh, who is nursing injury. “These youngsters are quite good under the bar, but need to have experience. The number of young goalkeepers in the national camps should be five at least and should be given match practice and exposure too,” said Subbaiah.

“Only with a big pool of talented goalkeepers, we can pick the best one for a particular match of the event. I don’t find any of these young goalkeepers 60 percent close to the caliber of Sreejesh, but it’s true that in future they may achieve that reputation.”

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Advocating for a quick but solid return of a fit-again Sreejesh in the team soon, Subbaiah said that the experienced keeper is the need of the hour for India, especially when they would be playing in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Olympic qualifiers next year.

“We don’t have any other option, and Sreejesh would be the key players in India’s things of scheme next year, which can change the fortunes of the Indian hockey,” he said. “It’s good to know that Sreejesh has been recovering fast and is 70-80 percent match fit, but he should take the field only when he is fully fit,”

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 18:50 IST