The future of Indian hockey is in great hands. Many questions were raised when India opted for a healthy mix of youth and experience going into the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
They were all answered in emphatic fashion on Thursday when India beat Germany 5-4 to win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule
The blend of youth and experience was the perfect recipe to take Indian hockey forward. The veterans have been ably supported by the young guns of Indian hockey to hand the team an elusive Olympic medal.
The journey is not over for these youngsters who now have to take up the mantle of Indian hockey. They will carry the expectations of an entire nation who will be hoping for an even better showing three years from now, when the sporting world gathers in Paris.
The future of Indian hockey team
On that note, let's take a look at some of the U-25 players in the Indian team who can build on this Olympic success.
The Tokyo Olympics 2021 must have been a huge learning curve for Hardik Singh. The 22-year-old was not a regular in the Indian squad until 2018 and even contemplated focusing on leagues abroad.
A magical run against Great Britain to ensure India will stay in contention for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics is a stand-out performance from him. His assists to Harmanpreet Singh, skipper Manpreet Singh and others in the forward line makes him one of the contenders for a regular spot in the team in the future.
Vivek Sagar Prasad
The 21-year-old player from Madhya Pradesh is a livewire in the midfield. From setting up forwards to protecting the defense line, Vivek Sagar Prasad is always in the thick of things in Indian hockey.
Although he is just 21, Vivek Sagar Prasad has enough experience to be a regular in the Indian men’s hockey team. He has already been a part of many victorious teams including the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy and is likely to help India win more.
Simranjeet Singh is another important player in India’s hockey midfield set up. At the Tokyo Olympics, the 24-year-old was on the money with his good penetrating runs into the circle.
He was also instrumental in thwarting the attacks from the opposition teams. His man-to-man marking was good and Simaranjeet used the ball well more often than not, stitching meaningful passes.
The 21-year-old forward amazed everyone with his skill to beat defenders and penetrate into opposition’s circle. He rose to the occasion on multiple occasions at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 with his menacing runs.
His goal in the second minute against Great Britain in the quarterfinals is one to watch out for and puts him in good stead to be a regular feature in the Indian men’s hockey team for the future.
He is technically not an under-25 player. However, his inclusion on the list is warranted because he turned 25 only a few months ago. Moreover, he can be one of those impressive young guns who can lead the country to a bright future in hockey.
The 25-year-old is a vital cog in the Indian set-up. Armed with ferocious drag-flicks, Harmanpreet Singh can sting any opposition with his strikes. Providing support in the forward line, Harmanpreet has the knack of dribbling past players easily and unleashing monstrous hits towards the goal.
His strength lies in his skill to not lose the ball inside the circle and that will put him in good stead to be one of the flag bearers for the Indian men's hockey team.