Only target is to play as a unit
Captain Manpreet Singh has a simple game plan — to ensure that each member of the national team plays for each other. On the personal front, he is ready to fight it out on the field come what may. Ahead of the World Cup, he spoke about the lessons learnt from the Asian Champions Trophy, making the transition from the junior squad to the seniors and how he has matured as a player.
What lessons did the team learn from the Asian Champions Trophy?
There were quite a few, actually, but more in terms of realising what we did wrong than any actual lessons learnt. A lot of things we have been doing right in training and even in the Asian Games, it was just a few minutes in one game that cost us heavily. We learnt from that and tried to avoid those errors from the Asian Games in the ACT, like the semifinal against Malaysia.
We decided that the ACT and the World Cup were important tournaments ahead of us and we had to do well in these events. The aim was to keep the ball, play more attacking hockey and also try and not give the opponent too many chances in our own circle. It worked and, more importantly, we were better in our defence, too. We did not concede penalty corners and kept the opposition away. That is something we plan to continue doing.
Winning the World Cup is a dream for every team, but it is also important to be realistic. How do you see the World Cup in terms of targets for the team,
At an advantage: Manpreet (centre) says playing at home is a big advantage for the team, and many of its members have played in Bhubaneswar a lot in the last few years.