India’s FIH Pro League Journey: A Review of The Performance

India’s performance in the FIH Pro League has been disappointing having lost three of the last four games. In this article, we will review team India’s journey.

India’s performance in the FIH Pro League has been very disappointing. A team that needed three wins out of their final four games to finish in the top three, lost three matches and has slipped to the fifth spot in the standings.

In this article, we will review team India’s performance in the FIH Pro League.

India’s FIH Pro League Journey: A Review of The Performance

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Inconsistency has been a constant

Inconsistency was a frequent theme regarding results or performances, particularly over the past eight road encounters. In Antwerp, India began with a respectable tie (which included a penalty shootout win) against Argentina before being outplayed by Belgium, who were not even at their best. They finished the Antwerp leg with a solid win over Argentina and continued their winning streak against Germany in the next encounter in London, followed by three consecutive defeats. Throughout the 16-game season in the FIH Pro League, India’s greatest victory run was two matches.

The Preparation

India’s past eight away games in the FIH Pro League focused on preparing for the Olympics, emphasizing improving strategies, providing opportunities to a huge team, and playing under varied match-based scenarios.

The outcomes were not crucial, but a better series of performances could have given the team more confidence in the run-up to Paris. Winning just two of the final eight matches, which were especially important given the start of the Paris Olympics, is far from ideal.

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Slow Starts

When it comes to inconsistency during matches, there has been a pattern in this Indian team, particularly in recent matchups: India starts slowly, concedes early goals, and fights back to square the scoreline, but then their performance levels drop and they concede again to lose.

But here is the thing about patterns: they can be detected and, if necessary, rectified. Even if Fulton couldn’t achieve it in the previous game, he has the opportunity to work on it before the Olympics. India does not have many high-quality matches before traveling to Paris, but Fulton is aware of the issue and has time to address it.

The Issue

India may not start well in every game, but they should strive to avoid losing key moments and seek to overcome their habit of conceding goals in critical periods. This is not just a defensive issue; the attacking line must also start effectively, capitalize on opportunities, and keep the tempo high until the final quarter.

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The Positives

India’s forwards, especially Sukhjeet, make significant gains in the FIH Pro League. The most pressing problem following India’s 5-0 loss against Australia was the performance of the forwards. India struggled to create opportunities to score Field goals. India’s strikers have improved in the last eight matches in the FIH Pro League against large teams.

While we have previously talked about forwards Abhishek, Araijeet Singh Hundal, and Gurjant Singh on these pages, Sukhjeet Singh has been the most developed and consistent performer over the last eight matches.

Previously, despite his best efforts on the field, Sukhjeet has failed to capitalize on important opportunities within the circle. He used to dribble past defenders but make bad last passes. He used to get into the proper places in the circle, but the finishing was lacking.

He has now scored four times in the last eight games in the FIH Pro League and is India’s second-highest scorer this season, with five field goals. In addition to scoring, he aided his teammates. As previously said, when Sukhjeet, Abhishek, Araijeet, and Gurjant are on the pitch, India performs better at moving forward and converting opportunities.

The Aim

His strong run of form in FIH Pro League comes just as Fulton prepares to select his final Olympic squad. Based on their present form and recent performances, the youth forwards may be given priority over their senior counterparts Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, and Lalit Upadhyay.

Sreejesh, India’s best player is headed to Paris.

The Change

Following India’s dismal World Cup performance at home, many people questioned PR Sreejesh’s future with the team. It’s not that he had a poor World Cup, but the age was not on his side, and he was being pushed by a younger and more improved second custodian, Krishan Pathak.

The Last Dance

By 2024, these doubts have evaporated. Since the World Cup fiasco, Sreejesh has demonstrated time and again that he has not reduced his standards, as evidenced by important saves in the FIH Pro League season, Asian Games campaign, and Australia series.

Despite an injury scare, the 36-year-old will play custodian for India in Paris, his fourth Olympics. It’s a huge plus for Fulton that Sreejesh will come to Paris after being in such great shape.

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