After spending six months with the junior hockey players, Gregg Clark is satisfied that the youngsters have grasped the tactical aspects of the game well.
All set to host the Junior World Cup here in December, Hockey India has decided to field a young team in the Asian Champions Trophy to be held in Kakamigahara, Japan, from November 2 to 10.
Clark, the chief coach of the side, said the team was progressing well, and the upcoming event would be a good build-up in the overall scheme of things. “The positive point is that 14 of the 18 players are from the squad that won the Sultan of Johor Cup and they can add good value. “Some players are coming in and it will be a good learning experience for them. The players’ understanding and implementation of the game have become better. As a coaching group that is what we look forward to. The tactical game has improved and needs further improvement,” he said on Tuesday.
Clark said the team would hope to better its penalty conversion rate with Gurjinder Singh’s inclusion. Baljit Singh Saini, who has been assisting Clark, said the players gained from video analysis and individual scientific analysis.
Manpreet Singh, who will lead the side, said that the team was pumped up after its success in the Johor Cup. “The inclusion of some regular members of the senior team (like me) lifts the overall standard of our game. We hope to continue with our good work,” he said.
India will also take part in the women’s competition of the Asian Champions Trophy, and chief coach Neil Hawgood said the exposure would help the players ahead of their hectic schedule next year. “We are exposing three-four new kids. Next year we are playing CWG Asian Games and Champions Challenge, so before that we need to expose the players (to different competitions),” he said. Captain Ritu Rani said the side needed to get rid of its slow starts, because of which it finished third in the Asia Cup and could not qualify for the 2014 World Cup.