Sports Reporter

Inputs during camps and tournaments assume a lot of importance

As a playmaker, Belsajar is proving to be indispensable

NEW DELHI: Despite some decent performances in various tournaments, the Indian junior hockey team has been unable to reap maximum rewards. If India’s coach A.K. Bansal is to be believed, the reason for the team not living up to its potential is the lack of technical support in the form of video analysis.

The narrow 2-3 loss to Pakistan in the four-nation title clash at Johor Bahru (Malaysia) was the most recent example of the team’s weakness.

The field was not strong enough in the event and India cruised in the round robin stage — beating host Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan.

In the final, the Asian champion twice took the lead before eventually losing through a golden goal.

In modern hockey, almost every team relies heavily on the feedback of a video analyst and unfortunately the Indian side, nurturing higher ambitions for the Junior World Cup to be held in June, does not have that support.

To identify flaws

“A video analyst can help the side identify minor flaws which cost dearly. His inputs during the camps and tournaments assume a lot of importance in taking corrective measures and framing the game plan.

“We are managing on our own, but we are not experts in that field,” Bansal told The Hindu here on Tuesday on his arrival from Malaysia.

“We have been doing well, but in the last few tournaments we are losing to opponents whom we have beaten earlier.

“This is the last chance before the World Cup and we have to fix this problem,” he said.

Few positives too

Bansal, however, counts on a few positives from the tournament. “One is the continued good showing of centre-half Belsajar Horo. As a playmaker, he is proving to be indispensable.

The other good sign is that the forwards are scoring and we do not have to depend too much on the penalty corner conversions of Diwakar Ram,” he added.

Meanwhile, Innocent Kullu is trying his hands at drag-flicks and Bansal thinks the defender should be able to hone his skills before the World Cup to emerge as a back-up for Diwakar.

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