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Hockey

Asian Champions Trophy Review: What went wrong, best players, stand out performances

Despite having several experienced players, India finished 3rd in the five-nation tournament held in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Indian men hockey
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Indian men's hockey team (Source: Hockey India)

By

C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 2021-12-23T11:51:57+05:30

Many predicted a gold medal and a breeze of a tournament for India at the men's Asian Champions Trophy held over the past two weeks. It seemed as though this tournament came as a surprise to India. Despite topping the group stages, they suffered immensely against Japan who shocked the Indian team tactically. The 5-3 defeat exposed India and led to them crashing out in the semi-finals fo the 5 nation tournament. We take a look at certain features which stood out for India in the course of the tournament.

Best Performers

Harmanpreet Singh, Akashdeep Singh were two senior players who played their part as role models of the team. They managed to bring about the much-needed experience in their positions and were able to guide the younger and inexperienced players properly. Harmanpreet Singh stepped up during Penalty Corners while Askahsdeep was all over the opposition half with his runs and shots. Other players who stood out were Krishna Pathak and Dipsan Tirkey who put in exceptional shifts throughout the tournament.

Stand out moments

The India Pakistan 3rd place match was definitely a real test for India as Pakistan played really well. The 4-3 scoreline was evident was how intense the game was and the Indian defense and all the debutants from the team had a real test while defending in the last 2 minutes with only 9 men on the pitch. The loss to Japan was also a stand-out moment as it showed India in a position where it was fighting back while being down 1-5. The loss was definitely a shock to many but proved to be an invaluable experience under pressure for the team as a whole.


What went wrong?

A clear underestimation of their opponents was evident right from the start of the tournament. The 2-2 draw with Korea should have been a warning sign but the real sign came after India beat Japan 6-0. It seemed as though they would beat them again in the semi-final but Japan managed to start the game with a full field press. They subsequently overpowered India by leading with a score of 5-1 before India managed to salvage and make the scoreline 5-3. This too was not enough and the result was that India was knocked out of the tournament and clearly exposed multiple flaws in the Indian team.

What does the future hold?

The squad only consisted of 8 players from the Olympics squad that won the bronze medal in Tokyo. This allowed debutants and youngsters to have a go in a stage that was perfect for their development and gaining experience. This will be beneficial for them in the future as it expands the pool of potential players who can be selected for major upcoming tournaments.

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