Punjab News Network

Hockey: Harmanpreet Singh continues to have a fantastic strike rate as he surpasses the 200-cap milestone, but backup worries persist

<p>One feeling unites the remarks made by Dutch head coach Jeroen Delmee before and during the India vs. Netherlands FIH Pro League match in Bhubaneswar: Harmanpreet Singh is a really excellent player.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-400797″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-hockey-harmanpreet-singh-continues-to-have-a-fantastic-strike-rate-as-he-surpasses.png” alt=”theindiaprint.com hockey harmanpreet singh continues to have a fantastic strike rate as he surpasses” width=”1364″ height=”767″ title=”Hockey: Harmanpreet Singh continues to have a fantastic strike rate as he surpasses the 200-cap milestone, but backup worries persist 12″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-hockey-harmanpreet-singh-continues-to-have-a-fantastic-strike-rate-as-he-surpasses.png 640w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-hockey-harmanpreet-singh-continues-to-have-a-fantastic-strike-rate-as-he-surpasses-390×220.png 390w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-hockey-harmanpreet-singh-continues-to-have-a-fantastic-strike-rate-as-he-surpasses-150×84.png 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1364px) 100vw, 1364px” /></p>
<p>Delmee said that his team needs to avoid giving up penalty corners in order to hold off India. With two minutes remaining, Hardik earned his team a penalty corner, which allowed Harmanpreet to score a rocket to tie the score at two against the top team in the world. Hardik expressed his constant confidence in his team’s ability to make a major play.</p>
<p>After scoring twice against Spain, the Indian captain made his 200th senior appearance at the Kalinga Stadium with a game-saving goal against the Netherlands. It was a memorable weekend for him. Later on social media, he said, “It’s always a privilege to wear the Indian jersey and whenever I wear this, it feels like I’m wearing it first.”</p>
<p>“I love Harman.”<br />
Rupinder Pal Singh, one of the top drag flickers in India, has personally seen Harmanpreet’s growth. “I’ve known him since he started playing hockey, back when he was on the junior squad, the Hockey India League, and so forth. Sincerely, I like Harmanpreet because of his consistency and unwavering support for the squad in every game, Rupinder says to The Indian Xpress. “You can see that foreign teams’ defense of penalty corners has improved over the last several years. However, it hasn’t stopped him from scoring often despite it.</p>
<p>It is a positive sign for India that their talisman is in fine shape at the beginning of an Olympic year. A regular hockey pundit and FIH Level 2 certified coach, Siddharth Pandey, says, “More than 170 goals in 200 matches is just a phenomenal record.” “A few years ago, if you had told any Indian team coach that a junior player with that kind of record was coming up, they would have chewed your hand off immediately. In his early years, Harendra Singh had a significant influence on his path. It was after his incredible run in the 2014 Sultan of Johor Cup that we first heard of him. He hasn’t turned around since.</p>
<p>The two drag-flicks he managed to score throughout the Bhubaneswar weekend further demonstrated the diversity of his game. His wrists allow him to move left or right, high or low. In addition to his overwhelming confidence, Rupinder brings a technical element. What makes him unique is his confidence in his skills. He has one of the greatest rhythms and training methods. He is skilled at using drag-flicks and has a great variety of them. Furthermore, he beats the defense by saving milliseconds while picking up the ball when it is trapped. His technique is excellent, and he hardly takes any time at all to do so.</p>
<p>India has produced some memorable flickers in the past, but Harmanpreet stands out as a whole package. “He has an incredible range of passes; he can execute deceptive slap passes, aerial balls, and 40-meter slap shots,” Siddharth continues.</p>
<p>Reliance upon Harmanpreet<br />
Although Harmanpreet is rightfully celebrating his milestone, it is concerning that he has been India’s top scorer for a considerable amount of the last several years. He finished 2023 with 42 goals from 33 games, ahead of Mandeep Singh (18 in 31) and Abhishek (16 in 27). In 2022, Harmanpreet scored 38 goals in 31 games, Mandeep scored 13 in 28 games, and Abhishek scored 11 in 28 games.</p>
<p>Of course, Harmanpreet and India’s World Cup performance at home in 2023 was forgettable, and even by his high standards, the skipper didn’t reach the back of the net as much as his squad would have like.</p>
<p>Siddharth responds, “Yes, the World Cup revealed how reliant we are on Harmanpreet. India had a poor campaign after he had a difficult one. And he will undoubtedly find use for that experience in Paris. However, the fact that not much is behind him is concerning. There are a few possibilities available, but our true deficiency is a second world-class flicker, which is what, in my opinion, won us the bronze in Tokyo.</p>
<p>Indeed, Harmanpreet and Rupinder’s inclusion in the team was a major contributing element in Indian hockey’s decision to overcome its lengthy medal drought at the Olympics. “I know from my own experience that there’s a lot of pressure on the opposition, particularly if you saw during the Tokyo Olympics when Harman and I were playing. We can both support one another on any given day if the other isn’t feeling well. Neither of us was selfish; instead, we were focused on what was best for the team. Having two excellent flickers on the team is crucial, in Rupinder’s opinion.</p>
<p>Gulf in the class<br />
It is still concerning that there isn’t a solid Plan B. Jugraj Singh has quick flicks and is effective when given a strategy, but he seems to be a flawed defender. Sanjay is a promising young player who plays strong defense, but in six months he could not yet develop into a top player. Maybe the greatest backup option is still India, who in the Asian Games in Hangzhou used Amit Rohidas as a surprise drag-flick weapon and used it to excellent advantage.</p>
<p>Furthermore, while they are not very prolific, India’s forwards are highly skilled. Mandeep is an expert at using space, Lalit Upadhyay makes some memorable goals, Gurjant Singh and Akashdeep Singh provide flexibility, and Sukhjeet Singh and other players have excellent stick skills. However, their total goal-scoring production must increase. “Abhishek has the potential to be a prolific goal scorer, but it will take some months. He have all the necessary talents to be one,” Siddharth continues.</p>
<p>Before Paris, Craig Fulton and company have some things to work on. For the time being, however, India can continue to feel secure in the knowledge that one of the top goal scorers in the world is leading the way. According to Siddharth, “Harmanpreet Singh’s integral role in the team has coincided with India’s most successful decade in the modern era; this is no coincidence.”</p>