FIH Pro League crucial for India before Paris Games: Olympian Dad
   Date :10-May-2024

Olympian Dad 
By Paritosh Pramanik
THE FIH Pro League Hockey Tournament starting from May 22 will be crucial for Indian hockey team ahead of Paris Olympics, said Olympian Sameer Dad. India will be participating in the FIH Pro League, which will be the last tournament for India to fine-tune their performance ahead of the mega event. Sydney Olympian Sameer Dad, who was in Nagpur to select players for his Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, said that a lot will depend on how India perform at Belgium and London during the Pro League meets. “The Pro league performance will be crucial for the Indian team as it will set the template for Paris Olympics,” said Dad while talking with ‘The Hitavada’ at VHA ground. Hockey India on Thursday named the 24-member Indian team that will take part in the FIH Hockey Pro League to be held in Antwerp, Belgium and London, England. The team will be led by defender and ace dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh while Hardik Singh has been named as his deputy.
The Belgium leg of FIH Pro League will begin on May 22 and end on 30 while the England leg will start on June 1 and conclude on 12th. During the Pro League, India will play against Argentina, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain twice each across both legs. They will kick-start their campaign against Argentina on May 22. India are currently placed third in the points table, with 15 points from eight matches. Dad said that India are placed in a tough pool at Paris Olympics and will have to play to the best of their abilities to make the knock-outs. India are placed in Group B along side reigning champions Belgium, Tokyo 2020 silver medallists Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Ireland. “We have been playing good hockey in the recent past. I am sure that if India play to their potential they can make it to knock-outs. A lot would depend on captain Harmanpreet Singh.
He will have to convert short corners. At the same time, the strikers will have to earn penalty corners for Harmanpreet,” said Dad, a 1998 Bangkok Asian Games gold medal winner. “Of late, the team has been playing good hockey. The players are together for quite some time and have gelled well. They can beat any team if they play as a cohesive unit,” said the former India forward Dad. Dad also praised goalkeeper PR Sreejesh who is in the twilight of his career. “Sreejesh has been excellent for India for past several years. He is the wall for us and his form will be very crucial for us at Paris. With age catching up, India should also put more responsibilities on other goalkeepers like Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Kerkera so that they are ready once Sreejesh hands his boots,” Dad concluded.