Bengaluru, 5 April: Indian Men’s Hockey Team defender Harmanpreet Singh sees the upcoming Argentina tour as the ideal preparation ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in the summer.
The 22-member Indian Men’s Hockey Team arrived in Argentina last week and have been preparing for the six-match tour against the current Olympic champions.
The tour includes four practice matches apart from the back-to-back FIH Hockey Pro League matches on 11th and 12th April (IST). Harmanpreet observed that adapting to the host nation’s playing style will be the key for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team.
“Argentina’s style of play is slightly different compared to the teams we played in Europe,” said Harmanpreet.
“We will certainly be using this tour as an opportunity to gather momentum ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Teams around the world are trying to get as much match practice before the Olympics and we are no different. We are grateful to be getting more games under our belt and need to make the most of it. To play the Olympic champions will be challenging but I believe we have the experience and the talent in our ranks to come out victorious,” he added.
Harmanpreet has been among the most consistent performers in the Indian Men’s Hockey Team in recent years. The vice-captain was in fine form during last month’s Europe tour, where the side finished unbeaten in what was their return to international Hockey after a pandemic hit year.
"We are very happy with the way the Europe tour shaped up for us. Whether in quarantine or back home, the past year we worked hard on our fitness with high-intensity body-weight training in our rooms and I’m glad it paid off. We have also worked on the tactical side of the game as well as our finishing. Hopefully, we can produce more good performances here in Argentina as well," said Harmanpreet.
India and Argentina have been involved in some riveting battles in recent years. Harmanpreet was encouraged by India Men’s Hockey Team’s 2-1 win in the 2018 Champions Trophy match in Breda, the last time India played Argentina, a match where he had also scored.
“I would say we are evenly matched in terms of quality. It is great to have the likes of Manpeet Singh & Rupinder Pal Singh back in the side. The presence of senior experienced players like them, who have seen many highs and lows in their careers, has only boosted the morale of the side,” Harmanpreet concluded.
Source: Hockey India