Seasoned drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has said that staying consistent for the full 60 minutes will be key for the Indian men’s hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics. Rupinder Pal Singh was a part of the Indian team that went to Argentina for the FIH Pro League last month.
Having missed the majority of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India returned to international action with successful European and Argentine tours. While the Men in Blue remained unbeaten in Europe, the Manpreet Singh-led side lost only once during practice games in Argentina.
The 30-year-old, who was a part of the Indian squad at the 2016 Rio Olympics, stressed that the players should not think directly about winning the match. Instead, they should work on the minute aspects and strategise accordingly to earn success.
“Each game is important and everybody wants to win. For that we have to be consistent for 60 minutes and work according to the strategy. We should not think that we will win the match straightaway but we should work on all the minute aspects that will hold us consistently in those 60 minutes,” Rupinder Pal Singh told Sportskeeda from Bengaluru.
In the four matches played on the European tour, India scored 11 goals and conceded five. The Argentine tour, which included four practice games, saw India score 17 goals in six matches. Rupinder Pal Singh stated that individual performance will also count towards the team’s success.
“It also depends on how we play on that particular day. If we all can focus on our individual performances and give more than 100 per cent, automatically the team’s performance will go to the next level and we can call ourselves as medal contenders,” added Rupinder Pal Singh.
10 matches aren't enough: Rupinder Pal Singh
Due to the second wave of COVID-19, the Indian team missed out on a good 15 to 20 international matches, mostly in the FIH Pro League. India were to play Spain, Great Britain and Germany this month but the matches had to be cancelled due to international travel restrictions imposed on the country.
“Ideally, these 10 matches aren’t enough as a preparation for an event like the Tokyo Olympics. After we came from the Argentina tour, according to the plan we had around 15-20 games and that would have been perfect before the Olympics,” rued Rupinder Pal Singh.
The team was scheduled to play against Great Britain on May 8 and 9, followed by Spain on May 15 and 16. The German leg was slated for May 23 and 24. However, the fate of India’s matches against New Zealand are yet to be decided. All FIH Pro League matches are double-legged ties.