The form of a penalty corner specialist is always of great concern for a team and its management going into a major tournament. Drag-flicking has become one of the most vital elements of the modern game.
Though only the drag-flickers in men’s game get the limelight, the role is of an equal importance in the women’s game. The Indian women, looking to improve on the fourth place finish, will be heavily relying on its drag-flicker, Jaspreet Kaur. “Jaspreet will be an important player for us. She has worked very hard and we will be banking on her to provide us with crusial goals,” said captain Ritu Rani. Haryana’s Jaspreet had been out of action for most part of last year due to an injury. She made her comeback at the CWG, straightaway making her presence felt. She scored six goals, five from penalty corners. Chief coach Neil Hawgood recently said that Glasgow was successful in terms of penalty conversions. “Our team converted nearly 40% penalties in Glasgow.”
India finished fifth at CWG but Hawgood said that the result was not that disappointing, considering the team finished last at the eight-team Hockey Champions Challenge I in April. About his target for the Asian Games, Hawgood said that not reaching the final would be a disappointment.
The team should make the semis along with defending champions China. — the other two teams are Malaysia and Thailand. Getting into the final though would be tough as they will have to get past either Korea or Japan, both title favourites.