I saw what I wanted to see, India coach Michael Nobbs said after the final game of the five-match series against South Africa on Sunday. India drew 3-3 after trailing 3-0 at half time and the result perhaps reflects what the Indian coach meant.
Nobbs has repeatedly said that attacking hockey was the way to go and the way India came back from the three-goal deficit proves his point. India scored three in the second half,but they also missed twice as many,as the South Africans struggled to counter. Yuvraj Walmiki seemed to be recovering his scoring touch with an opportunistic deflection,Raghunath converted a penalty corner and SK Uthappas growing confidence was evident in a smart deflection in the dying minutes.
The first half,though,was all about a shaky defence. India missed three penalty corners as well in the first half,an area that needs improvement. Ricky West,Ian Haley and Miguel Da Graca scored for the visitors.
The star of the day was PR Sreejesh the lanky goalkeeper was not just Indias last line of defence,he was,for a major part of the match,the only defence. He made at least six saves,and the three goals that he conceded came from multi-pronged attacks after being left alone to guard the post.
India can take heart from the fact that none of the teams it will face in the Olympic qualifiers are at the same level as South Africa. However,they need to guard against complacency.
Doctor for Womens team
The Indian womens team,meanwhile,will finally get a doctor after being without one for a long time. According to sources,the team will be joined by Satbir Singh,a former Army doctor who has been with the BCCIs academy for fast bowlers in Chandigarh. He is likely to join the probables on Monday.