India beat Canada, but mind set on Sunday afternoon game against Pakistan
London: It might have been only a match against Canada, but no one could help getting ahead of themselves at the Hero Hockey World League, while talking of the clash against Pakistan, which comes on a Super Sunday.
Less than an hours drive, the cricket teams from India and Pakistan will be contesting for the ICC Champions Trophy title.
Indian coach Roelant Oltmans, captain Manpreet Singh and seasoned Sardar Singh, all sought to downplay the upcoming match, but it was clear ‘it’ was on their mind, alright.
But first, the clash against Canada. After seeing the Canadian side, who have four players of Indian origin, the Panesar brothers, Sukhi and Balraj, and the Perreira brothers, Brandon and Keegan, outplay Pakistan 6-0 last night at the Lee Valley Centre, there may have been some concerns in the Indian camp. Oltmans was here to see the match as were some other players.
But all that disappeared as the Indians came out blazing. If they were quiet and ‘too’ eager to score in the game against Scotland, they were composed and well-planned against Canada.
They struck in the fifth minute, as SV Sunil slid and stuck his stick out to push it into the goal off an acute angle. That was soon after a first minute penalty corner, underlining India’s intentions from the start.
Five minutes and a few more forays later, Ramandeep Singh put Akashdeep in possession to get India’s second goal.
Into the second quarter, Ramandeep created a great opening for a well-position Sardar Singh, who had crept up, to score the third goal. With a 3-0 lead, one may have expected a further assault, but the Indians chose to slow down, clearly conserving themselves in this heat.
“No matter, which is the team is, results like 4-1 (against Scotland) and 3-0 (against Canada) are good at this level of competition,” said a pleased Oltmans.
“They played to a plan and that’s what I wanted. Sometimes they seemed too eager to score, but I would like to see them play to a plan. They are doing that more often and I am pleased.”
Manpreet chipped in. “Though Pakistan is ranked below us, we don’t want to take them lightly. They can come up with a good game and hence it is important for us to stick to the roles assigned by our coach and execute them.”