Graham Reid: Australia tour provided us the bench-mark we have to be

Indian men's hockey team coach Graham Reid felt that the five match tour of Australia has made him understand the team better as the team prepares for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid stressed on the aspect of scoring frequently against teams with tight marking.   -  Hockey India Twitter

India need to consistently score goals under tight marking to narrow the gap with top teams like Australia, said coach Graham Reid after his first major assignment with the national hockey team.

On its tour of Australia that concluded on Friday, India lost both the games against the host after beating Aussie club WA Thundersticks 2-0 and then winning against Australia 'A' 3-0 in the second match and then drew 1-1 against the 'A' team in its third match.

Speaking about the tour, Indian team's newly-appointed Reid said that the assignment in his home country was an opportunity for him to understand his team better.

“It was good to get a view of where the team (India is ranked five) is at, compared to the World Number 2 side (Australia). They have been playing against world class oppositions on a regular basis in the FIH Pro-League since the World Cup last year, and this showed up in our two matches against them,” he said.

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“For me, those matches provided a good bench-mark as to the level we have to be at as we move towards the Olympic qualification. So, in terms of preparation for our upcoming FIH Men’s Series Finals (here next month), the tour was ideal.

 

“It provided me a great opportunity to view players at much closer quarters and under the pressure of a world-class team. Our first quarter in the first match on Wednesday night showed me the level this team can play, we just need to do that on a more consistent basis. Not only across quarters but across games,” said Reid.

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The 55-year-old Australian said that his team was focused on improving its attack.

“Our ability to score goals under tight marking pressure will be critical if we are to close the gap with teams like Australia. Over the next few weeks in Bhubaneswar during our National Camp (starting Monday), we need to create as many opportunities as possible for our attackers to experience this tight pressure,” he said.

“It will also be critical for our defenders to keep improving this area from a defensive point of view. With speed and power becoming the dominant forces in World Hockey, we also need to keep improving in these areas.”

Hockey India on Sunday named a list of 32 players for the national camp in Bhubaneswar for the Men's Hockey Series Finals. It has retained all the 18 players of the team that travelled to Australia.