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BHUBANESWAR: On Monday on the Kalinga Stadium here, the thoughts wandered again to December 2, 2018. India performed Belgium then on the FIH World Cup. The sport ended in a 2-2 draw after a overdue goal from the visitors. But the play of the fit was once Simranjeet Singh's goalmouth conversion, the technicality of which was once inimitably explained via coaching legend Ric Charlesworth.

A bit over six months from that day, Graham Reid, who was once Charlesworth's understudy all the way through his days as Australia coach, is on the helm of the Indian team's affairs. Reid went directly to become Australia's coach after Charlesworth stepped down, and he'll indubitably put all those learnings into good use with India at the Road to the Tokyo Olympics.

At the continuing FIH Series Finals, India walloped Uzbekistan 10-0 to complete on peak of Pool A and stormed into the semi-finals. While there's little doubt concerning the hosts reaching the final and profitable it as neatly, a top-two end is all they need for a protected passage to the Olympic qualifiers scheduled for later this 12 months.

But what introduced the two games six months aside, towards Belgium on the World Cup and versus the Uzbeks on the FIH Series Finals, at the comparability desk was once a contrasting moment from each the fits.

While Simranjeet scored in that sport in December, Ramandeep Singh and Sumit had a possibility to do the similar on Monday however could not.

At the end of his run from the left of the Belgian post, Kothajit Singh pushed the move with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel and Simranjeet was once there in a copybook striker's place to deflect the ball in. To understand the technicality of that World Cup moment, it's best to revisit Charlesworth's phrases.

"The hardest thing to do, if you are a striker, is to keep your stick down and to play where the ball is going, when there are all sorts of things happening in front of you. High-quality MS Dhoni play. Like the wicketkeeper has to always keep his hands there (in line of the bowler's delivery), the ball never comes, never comes and suddenly it comes and you have got to be there. Simranjeet was there and his stick was down in the right place. That's the skill of a striker and that's what he did. He was in position ad his stick was low. If he were waiting there upright, it would have gone. But he was down," Charlesworth had said in a talk display at the sidelines of the World Cup.

A ditto play took place on Monday. The lend a hand this time came on the end of Akashdeep Singh's run into the hanging circle and he pushed it as exactly as Kothajit had performed, however Sumit and Ramandeep weren't "down" like Simranjeet; as an alternative, they have been "upright".


Not that it price India pricey; they went directly to hammer Uzbekistan 10-0. But what the above comparability highlights is that you'll never compromise with the fundamentals of the sport. Basics remain the similar and any new coach coming in will expect a national team player with revel in not to falter on that depend. That should be disappointing section for Reid, who is putting the most productive conceivable plans in place to convey consistency into India's sport, on all fronts.

In the 3 pool fixtures, the India strikers have been good at developing opportunities but the conversion charge isn't where Reid would have expected it to be -- each on field attempts and penalty corners.

Interestingly, ahead of Reid joined, the Indian strikers went through a week-long camp carried out via former Australian forward Kieran Govers.

"Our main focus is to get better results inside the striking circle," Govers had advised TreadDailyNews all the way through the camp. "Whether it's shots at the goal or penalty corners, I'm trying to help with my knowledge. We have done some goal-scoring drills and I've been able to give some tips to improve their game inside the circle."

Unfortunately, some great benefits of Govers's experience are yet to totally display up in India's conversion charge.


Of the 26 PC's earned in this match, most effective ten have discovered the mark -- 4/9 towards Russia, 2/five towards Poland and four/12 towards Uzbekistan. That's a good fortune percentage of 38.five.

The extra irritating side, even though, has been the near-misses on the end of a few breathtaking moves. India's innumerable circle penetrations throughout 180 mins of game-time have yielded most effective 13 field goals and a few agonizingly shoddy finishing from the front-line towards not-too-strong defensive partitions, perhaps barring that of the Poles.

It can be too harsh to question Reid at this nascent stage of his time as India coach. Any new coach will want time to grasp the team, it's needs and the best way to work at the spaces that demand consideration, especially in a locker room culturally as various as India's

"We are working with the strikers to get in better positions," Reid said in reply to a question from "I was happy with the movement that was happening today (against Uzbekistan), and what I am also happy about is that we are creating opportunities. That's always important. Of course, we always want more goals, but those things take time to get better and we will be doing that as often as we can."

"Those are the things that we work on with the players. If there's a positive about that (the play between Akashdeep, Sumit and Ramandeep), it's the fact that we had people on the far post and it was a very good ball from Akash to put across. We will work on that (conversion), and part of that is the technical. That's what we will do when we look again at the video."

The worrying section, even though, is that whilst minnows help you break out with mistakes, large teams do not let those move unpunished. And India know that from contemporary reports.


The hosts have a three-day smash ahead of their semi-final, which can be towards the winner of the crossover sport between Japan and Poland. A protracted cool-down length brings its personal set of challenges, the best way to maneuver through it to stay in highest form.

Reid guaranteed that there could be no let-up in intensity.

"I think it's important that we get time to work on stuff. For example, we will be having a fairly quick session tomorrow (Tuesday) night. I don't think motivation will be a problem in the semi-final. The boys will be up for it. I guarantee you that. From the point of view of a three-day break, it is what it is, so we have to utilize it in the best way, stay sharp, train well," said the Aussie.

A knockout fixture after listless games is a tough affair, and the memory of the Asian Games semi-final loss from last 12 months can be in the back of everybody's thoughts, till India book their ticket to the Olympics.

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