India, a country as diverse and beautiful as any on planet earth has been brutally marred by plenty of ills that have plagued its 1.4 billion people recently.
The rising fuel prices, the soaring inflation or more so the virus which still roams unabated amongst us albeit with a less severe degree have all fiercely dented the livelihood of a common Indian a.k.a an aam aadmi. To find contentment for them has been as mighty a challenge as finding a needle in a haystack.
Well, if things beyond one’s control keep dwindling south, the word inspiration to ignite a purpose or a sense of belief to beat adversity becomes of utmost importance. And what could be better than sport to shower this insatiable need of inspiration on its people.
When we talk sport in this country, the first mention of this word makes a quintessential Indian fan tilt towards a religion of sorts in cricket albeit for me it’s not cricket but hockey.
Hockey Team India: Hope For Our Long Awaited Gold.
Hockey needs purpose in our country now more than ever to rise to the accolades of the generations bygone and truth be told the occasion for our national team to bring a gold back to where it rightfully belongs couldn’t be more befitting than the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Yes, Tokyo, the same city where our heroes of the past had blessed us with a gold, 57 years to this day in 1964 as they conquered arch rivals Pakistan courtesy a Mohinder Lal penalty which was the only goal on that occasion. This win would also serve as a befitting reply to avenge the dual defeats suffered at the hands of the Men in Green at the 1960 Olympics and the 1962 Asia Cup.
The triumphant gold was one among the eight Olympic hurrahs that this once mighty and purposeful conquerors of the world consistently made their own, the highest for any hockey playing nation with the last one coming 41 years ago in Moscow 1980.
Unfortunately, such has been the gap of more than four decades with none of the current crop even being an idea then, let alone being born!
Having said this, as an eternal optimist and a die-hard supporter of Indian hockey, the voices within me have been blaring with the words ‘the search for the long-awaited gold ends here!’
Call it my belief or whatever you may albeit in truth, I see no reason why our brave warriors can’t bring the much-needed hurrah to bless our country that’s longing for inspiration.
Graham Reid has a team that’s the perfect blend of youth and experience with one of the best midfielders in world hockey, Manpreet Singh leading this able army of annihilators.
As the astute Australian tactician said in a recent interview the challenge for this team would be a mental one with the last 16 months being anything but rosy courtesy the ill-fated virus that’s destroyed the world.
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Physically, this team has enough strength and ability to lock horns with the best in the world be it the likes of the European powerhouses in Germany, Belgium or Netherlands or go toe to toe with the number one ranked team in World Hockey, Australia who India faces in their second group game after the opener against New Zealand on the 24th,
Spain, Argentina and hosts Japan are the other challenges in the group that the Bharat Army needs to overcome to qualify for the quarterfinals and consequently soar even higher.
Simple Mantra for Hockey Team India
The simple mantra for me to see this team soar is to be as aggressive upfront as possible with the likes of Mandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay mounting goals galore right from the first quarter to put every opposition under pressure.
The only drawback if I can call it that, with this outfit that I see is the lack of will to hold on and not concede in the final moments of the match, which has happened too often in the recent past that result in us ending on the wrong side of the eventual hurrah.
Our defence needs to keep the focus on to not wilt under unrelenting pressure when exerted by the opposition, with the likes of Harmanpreet Singh who also happens to be a miraculous penalty corner specialist and Rupinder Pal Singh having to stand tall in the face of adversity.
What also gives me hope to nullify the attacking intent of the opposition is the wall in our goal, our most experienced campaigner P.R. Sreejesh who will give it his all to not let the ball go past him in the back of our net. His commitment to keep strikers out is akin to the resolute border forces of India that keep all threats at bay.
To conclude this piece, India definitely has the all the resources to bring the gold back and what’s left is to just hit the park and make it happen. Nothing less will suffice my Dear Bharat Army as you have the backing of 1.4 billion Indians looking for inspiration.
Please don’t fail us!