Chief hockey coach Harendra Singh lashed out at Indian strikers for missing half-a-dozen chances against Malaysia to settle for a goalless draw in an Asian Champions Trophy match, on Tuesday. “I am not happy at the way our strikers continue to miss scoring opportunities. The strikers need to work harder. Things will not come on a platter every time,” Harendra said after the draw left both defending champions India and Asian Games silver medallists Malaysia on 10 points from four outings.
India stayed on top of the standings on basis of a superior goal difference. Harendra said modern hockey requires quick decision-making by the players as rivals would always try to deny them time and space in the scoring zone.
“We have to do better inside the circle,” said Harendra. He said Malaysia were expected to crowd their defence but it was up to the Indian players to create passage.
Malaysia coach Roelant Oltmans, who was India’s coach until last year, said the game proceeded as expected. “We did really well in how we defended, but I am slightly disappointed with what we did when in possession of the ball. We could have done a lot more. We could have created opportunities for ourselves. That is something we need to improve,” said Oltmans, who took charge of the Malaysian team after the Asian Games that ended last month.
For three Asian teams – India, Pakistan and Malaysia – this event provides the last competitive games ahead of next month’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar in India.