"Not Going To Take Any Team Lightly": India Men's Hockey Team Captain Harmanpreet Singh Ahead Of Asian Games
Asian Games: The Indian men's hockey team will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24.
The Indian men's hockey team is all set to take part in the upcoming Asian Games, which will kick-start from Friday in Hangzhou, China. India will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24. India is placed in Pool A, alongside Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. On the other hand, Pool B consists of Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia. With their first match in the quadrennial event just around the corner, captain Harmanpreet Singh spoke about the challenges that the team might face.
"I am lucky to receive the opportunity to lead India men's hockey team at the Asian Games. But at the same time I also know that this tournament will be a bit challenging. As an experienced player, I have faced all this and somewhere, the team has also been conveyed that the tournament might push them out of their comfort zones," Harmanpreet told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
"So, I think our team is all set. We are not going to take any team lightly and will be giving our hundred per cent in every match. We will be going with the same planning and intensity against every opponent," he added.
Team India will be coming to this tournament after clinching the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 in Chennai last month. The India skipper further stated that playing in the Asian Championship turned out to be a good practice for the team.
"Playing against the Asian teams is like a new structure. The Asian Championship just before the Asian Games, helped us a lot with our game. Even though we won the tournament but we still learnt so much from there like we conceded two goal against China. So, these are the things that we need to take care of and we cannot take any team lightly," he said.
"Talking about my game, I play as a free man and it's mine and the goalkeeper's duty to communicate things to the other teammates. There are three different structures in which we have to communicate with others and we have to make sure that the needs of all the players are being fulfilled," he added.
Team India left for Hangzhou on Tuesday to participate in the Asian Games. Hardik Singh will be serving as Harmanpreet's deputy.
The midfield will be anchored by Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, and Shamsher Singh, while the attack will be led by Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
(With PTI Inputs)