Savita: Malaysia tour helped in preparing against defensive teams

Coach Sjoerd Marijne had expressed dissatisfaction with the team’s scoring during the Malaysia trip where India won the five-match series 4-1.

In the absence of an injured Rani Rampal, the team was led by experienced goalkeeper Savita and the latter admitted it was a different experience.   -  prashant nakwe

The Indian women’s hockey team may have won its five-match series 4-1 against Malaysia but barring the first two games, the team struggled to score despite being vastly superior. It was a concern for the coach but the players believe the experience will come in handy moving ahead.

In the absence of an injured Rani Rampal, the team was led by experienced goalkeeper Savita and the latter admitted it was a learning curve.

READ| Indian women's hockey team beat Malaysia, win series 4-0

“As captain, there is definitely some added pressure. But as the goalkeeper, I would say the other seniors in the team took equal responsibility. There is only so much I can do from the back so it helped to have the likes of Deep Grace ahead,” Savita said on the team’s return on Friday.

Coach Sjoerd Marijne, who has gone home for a week before the next camp kicks off, had expressed dissatisfaction with the team’s scoring.

“We need to work on converting goals. I am happy with the number of times we entered the opponent’s circle. We created enough opportunities but we have to keep working on converting in small space. This tour gave us more insight on how to play against a very defensive team like Malaysia,” he said.

READ| Focus on fitness, ball-handling speed at women’s hockey national camp

Savita agreed. “We played against Spain who are ranked above us and play an attacking game. At the Hockey Series Finals, most of the teams we will be up against would be ranked below and play very defensive. In that sense, this tour was very helpful in preparing ourselves against defensive teams and working out ways to break past them,” she said.

India would be playing in Hiroshima for the Finals in June with host Japan being the main competitor. And with no Pro League participation, the team is more than happy with whatever competition it can get ahead of the tournament.

The team will travel to Korea for a bilateral series next month as part of its preparation for the HSF.

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