Hockey

Azlan Shah: India faces Argentina in opener

Rehearsal: Sardar Singh’s men will be hoping to take a selfie with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Rehearsal: Sardar Singh’s men will be hoping to take a selfie with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.  

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Coach Marijne confident the team will deliver the goods

India will look to begin its campaign on a positive note when it takes on World No. 2 Argentina in the opening game of the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here on Saturday.

The Sardar Singh-led team put up a fight against World No. 1 Australia before going down 1-2 in a warm-up game on Thursday.

Though the team lost despite vice-captain Ramandeep Singh scoring India’s lone goal, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne was optimistic.

“We played three quarters against Australia to adjust to the humidity. I was happy with a lot of things. For the first match together with this new combination, we put up a good performance and we will use this to prepare for the opening game against Argentina.”

“While a winning start is what we look for, it’s important for the team to execute the structure we want to play in. There is no room for error when you play a team like Argentina and we cannot let their Olympic champions’ tag intimidate us. I am hopeful we will stitch together a good performance,” said the 31-year-old skipper.

“The practice match against Australia has given the first-timers an insight into what they can expect and I am sure they will take that confidence into the opening game as well.”

India’s second match, on Sunday, will be against England which has retained 10 players from the squad that won the title last year.

But for now, Sardar and his team’s focus is on Saturday’s game against the Argentines.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:45:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/azlan-shah-india-faces-argentina-in-opener/article22911895.ece

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