Although the results here have been mediocre this year, playing the World Cup at home here in Bhubaneswar could be the boost the team needs. However, for coach Harendra Singh, nothing is more important than for players to become aware of the responsibility that arises from wearing the colors of India.
A loss to Malaysia in the semi-finals at the Asian Games affected the morale of a team that looked good on the road to win its second silver medal in the Champions Trophy. It was a blow that had multiple repercussions: (1) India failed to defend its gold in 2014 and (2) could not qualify directly to Tokyo Olympics.
With less than two months to go to the World Cup, the team is now suffering the heaviest injuries among key players. Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil and Birendra Lakra all race against time to reach their full physical fitness. Sunil is in fact almost out of the first tournament. But injuries are out of the control of a player or team. But the performance is not, and that's what Harendra wants his team to focus on more than anything else.
"Injuries are an integral part of the sport, you have to deal with that and not just think that this player is hurt or hurt, and that's why (good) results are not forthcoming." must change, "said Harendra during an interview with TimesofIndia.com.
Speaking of mentality, Harendra hinted that no player can take his place in the national team for granted and that those who are lucky enough to wear the "colors of India" must know the meaning.
"You have to deserve the colors of India.Nobody will give them on a platter.When you deserve them, you must realize the responsibility that arises," said the coach.
The coaching staff recently became interested in the motivational aspect of the training: he introduced the book "Legacy" to the team. Written by James Kerr, it tells the story of the New Zealand rugby team All Blacks, become one of the best sports teams in the world.
Harendra explains how players should strive to leave their jerseys as an iconic and unforgettable number that others will be able to admire in the future.
"You have to leave your jersey and the number legacy, so any player of any generation who wears it should remember that he has to contribute the same way.For example, Mohammed Shahid wore number 10 and Dhanraj Pillay number 9. These numbers have an inheritance.If a player thinks like him, he can raise the bar of his game, "added the coach.
After the disaster of the Asian Games, the captaincy of the team has changed hands again. Hockey India decided to return it to Manpreet Singh of PR Sreejesh, who had replaced Manpreet after the CWG earlier in the year.
But in a sport like hockey, captaincy does not matter much in the field. Each player has an individual responsibility and contributes to the team's cause. Harendra also thinks in the same way and thinks that a healthy atmosphere and that all players must be on the same page is more important.
"We're doing more jokes now, Sreejesh and Manpreet are the two ugliest guys in the world, and that's a particularly good atmosphere for new players joining the team," he said. "We are also changing the thinking process to stay on the same page, and I'm calling to tell you that (Chris) Ciriello and I are getting the answers we expect."
If so, camaraderie and trust should help the team produce good results at the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy (ACT). India will face Malaysia, rivals Pakistan, Japan, Asiad champion, and stubborn South Koreans in the six-team tournament that will take part in the round robin. The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals. finals.
The Asian Champions Trophy will start on October 18th, about a month before the kickoff of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, starting on November 28th.