Roelant Oltmans using rolling substitutions intelligently, claims Viren Rasquinha
Indian senior men’s hockey team’s high-intensity stuff in the ongoing 36th FIH Champions Trophy in London has impressed hockey buffs. The 3-3 draw against Olympic champions Germany and world number four Great Britain has clearly lifted the stock of the Men in Blue. And one man, who is elated with the national team shaping up is former Indian midfielder and Olympian Viren Rasquinha.
“The kind of intensity this Indian team is showing through the duration of a match is so good to see. Such intensity cannot be possible without strong work ethics and discipline,” Rasquinha says.
The 35-year-old Mumbaikar, who is the Olympic Gold Quest CEO, believes all the credit for the team’s improved performance must go to head coach Roelant Oltmans. “I know Oltmans for a long time. He thoroughly plans things and knows how to get the team to perform in major tournaments. I don’t recall which match it was – he once carried out 65 substitutions in one game, which just shows how intelligently he uses the rolling substitutions,” he quips.
The former Indian captain feels that the team possesses a group of leaders. “It’s not about any individual, be it Sardar Singh or PR Sreejesh, Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh they all have good leadership attributes which is good for the team,” he observes.
Of course, there is still plenty of room for improvement for the Indian team. “We tend to give away silly penalty corners which are resulting in goals. Germany scored against us off short corners while Great Britain converted one. Manpreet flung at his opponent and on another occasion an Indian player stick-checked his opponent when not required. We need to avoid conceding unnecessary short corners, as these may often be the vital factor in the final outcome of a match,” Rasquihina makes his point clear.
The soft-spoken former international says Olympic expectations must be realistic. “We first need to finish in the top-8 at the Rio Olympics and then take it from there,” he concludes.