M.K. Kaushik is a pragmatist. For India’s chief coach what matters is the mode with which a result is achieved than the outcome itself.
He was the first to acknowledge that India huffed and puffed to secure a victory over Singapore in game one of Pool A in the Asia Cup women’s championship here on Thursday.
The temptation to be carried away with the illusion of having accomplished big 13-0 could be high. But to be realistic, as coach Kaushik appears to be, is the best possible course is to analyze the verdict in a proper perspective and prepare for tougher tasks ahead. At the moment, India appears to be well on course for a semifinal berth, but that the fruit of the labour can be tasted only if the team makes it to the final to slot a place for the next World Cup at Rosario (Argentina). For this, India must overcome either Korea or Japan, the likely semifinalist.
By any reckoning, this is not beyond the ken of the Indians provided they rise to the occasion.
On Thursday, despite the handsome result, the team was found wanting in acquiring the needed fluency and rhythm to be incisive enough to break the wall that Singapore defence surrounded itself with inside the circle.
To be fair to the frontline stars like Jasjeet Handa, Surinder Kaur and Saba Anjum, every one of them strove to put in that extra punch but they were clearly phlegmatic, at least in the first half.
Talking of the positives, the start has been encouraging and for the second match scheduled tomorrow against the host, India needs to tighten up every area to enhance the striking and defending potential. India’s litmus test comes against China on Tuesday.
On Friday morning, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong China played a goal-less draw in Pool B with each securing a point. The match was scheduled for Thursday but had to be postponed due to the delayed arrival of the Chinese Taipei team.
Pool B: Chinese Taipei drew with Hong Kong, China 0-0.
Saturday’s matches: Korea v Hong Kong, China (12-30 p.m.); Japan v Sri Lanka (1 p.m.); China v Singapore (2-30 p.m.); India v Thailand (3 p.m.); Kazakhstan v Chinese Taipei (5 p.m.).