Indian women’s hockey team are set to face Argentina in their FIH Women’s Hockey Pro League 2021/22 fixtures on June 18 and 19 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Women in Blue faced a horrific defeat against Belgium in their last matchup and the pressure on the players keeps on building with every loss they face. Speaking on India’s performance and the pressure on young players in the team, captain Savita Punia was asked whether there is an issue with the players who are insecure about the place in the side and not being able to put out their best performance.
Here are the highlights from the latest FIH Hockey Pro League match between India and Belgium, which took place on Sunday, June 12th, 2022.#IndiaKaGame #HockeyIndia #FIHProLeague @CMO_Odisha @sports_odisha @IndiaSports @Media_SAI pic.twitter.com/VRiNIqIHtS
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) June 16, 2022
Speaking to a group of Indian journalists on Thursday (June 16) Savita said, “Yes, definately. I think this was one of reasons that our performance was not upto the mark recently. But the players have to adapt and handle the pressure, but it’s not the same everyday. Sometimes a player can let this very fact run their mind and let it affect their game because it’s not easy when you’re playing. It’s easy to say don’t get affected by the fact that if you will not perform and get dropped. Here, it was a team of 24 players first, then it got to 20 players then it had to be down to 18 players, so yes the players did feel the pressure and I think it does affect the performance. But no one is to blame in this scenario because we need to handle the pressure here if we want to perform in the World Cup. In Olympics, the team handled the pressure well, even in Bhubaneswar we got to know how the players handle the homeground pressure.”
Talking on the solution on what she and the senior players said to the players who were letting selection affect their game, Punia said, “In my opinion I think when one starts thinking about the result before the match takes place is the point where they lose it. So I just told everyone ‘don’t think about the future, instead of that think about the opportunity you have been given and look to play today’s game the best way you can instead of thinking about the selection for future’.”
She further spoke on the challenges for Team India against Argentina who they face next in the Pro League. Argentina are not to be going to be an easy win for Indians as they are on an unbeaten run of 14 matches. Savita said, “Our preparations are going on well. We had two great training sessions and everyone has focused on improving their game. We are looking forward to our matches against Argentina and looking to perform as a team and as individuals. We are quite confident ahead of the matches as we played a good game against Argentina in the Semi-Final of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”