Why the Future looks Bright for Indian Hockey
The Indian juniors crushed arch rivals Pakistan 6-2 in the finals to win the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup held in Malaysia; the youngsters putting up a strong showing to claim a third title at the event. This team is full of terrific performers and have often proved to be an unstoppable force, brushing aside opponents with ease.
The Stand-out Performers
The Colts boast of a strong captain in Harjeet Singh, Man-of-the-Match in the Asia Cup final and also Player of the Tournament in the Sultan of Johor Cup. Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh showed a voracious appetite for goals in the Asia Cup with 4 goals in the final and 15 overall. Goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya was voted the best in the tournament and the likes of Mandeep Singh, Armaan Qureshi and Manpreet too, were impressive.
They won the Junior Men’s Asia Cup for the third time in history in emphatic style, thrashing Pakistan 6-2 in the finals and Japan 6-1 in the semis. They won all their matches, which included a 9-0 clobbering of Oman in the quarter-finals. They performed well in the Sultan of Johor Cup too before that, only falling in a closely fought final to Great Britain.
Focus On Youth
The average age of the Indian Team is a mere 23 years, which showcases the team’s inclination towards inducting more young blood with players like Akashdeep Singh (21) and Manpreet Singh (23) gaining importance in the current squad. Manpreet has come up through the ranks having turned out for the youth sides whereas, Akashdeep is considered a prodigy and fast-tracked into the senior team.
The Future Beckons
If the Colts build up on their strong performances and improve further, they can put up a strong case for an entry in to the senior side. It won’t be easy and the likes of Harmanpreet, Harjeet and Co. will have to be consistent enough to prove that they are good enough. With the Junior World Cup set to take place in 2016, an inspired show there would just be the tonic required.