Chennai Cheetahs needs to pay more attention towards covering up a few inadequacies to stay in contention for the top four slots in the current World Series Hockey (WSH). The way it caved in to Mumbai Marines on Tuesday was attributed to travel fatigue.
This explanation is justified, to some extent.
Flying in after playing in Delhi the previous night took a toll on the fitness levels. Yet, inability to hold on even against a mediocre pressure from Mumbai left many wondering whether the team requires a new strategy.
With Jose Brasa heading the coaching panel fabricating new modes will not be a problem. A master strategist that he is, Brasa has always a trick up his sleeves. But the emphasis here should be the players' comprehension of it and the display of competence to translating such ideas into goals.
Pakistan's penalty corner striker, Imran Warsi, has thus far been the kingpin for Cheetahs. He is breath-taking when he sends the ball thundering into the boards.
But to look up to Warsi everytime when the ball crosses the 25-yard line will not pay dividends. This was testified when former Olympian Adrian D'Souza made a few splendid saves for Marines.
The Cheetahs outfit has at least two fine ball players in Adam Sinclair and Veerasami Raja.
The mid-field, manned by Brent Livermore, and the seasoned Vikram Pillay, should create enough space for the duo to move ahead and perform. This will complement the goal-scoring potential of the Chennai team, which has six points from four encounters.
Pune Strykers, the opponent, is well placed with eight points. Pune's trump card is the lethal striker from Argentina — Mario Alamada. The other superbly endowed star is Canada's veteran, Kenny Pereira.
A close and absorbing contest is on the cards for the crowd on Friday. A win for Cheetahs on the home turf will give the local fans a lot to cheer as much as it will be for the owners, the Lalwanis, who have spared no effort to set the stage for the event at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.