Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lack Of Goals Giving Coach Oltmans Sleepless Nights

Lack of goals is a concern for Indian team
Indian men hockey has always been blessed with great forwards, from the likes of Dhyan Chand and Roop Singh and Balbir Singh in the early 20-40s, Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh in the the 90s to the likes of Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur in the early 2000s but since the dawn of 2010s, India's forward producing factory seems to have run dry and haven't produced any goal scoring forward who can guarantee the team at
least 5-6 goals in the entire tournament. Terry Walsh and Paul Van Ass were troubled by the lack of goal scoring but the penalty corner experts usually bailed them out of the problems but current Indian coach Roelant Oltmans seems to have no such luck on his side.

Out of 10 forwards available to Roelant Oltmans only one, SV Sunil gives him and the fans confidence with his performance while rest other continue to disappoint. Since Roelant Oltmans took over as the coach after the sacking of Paul Van Ass, he has played the likes of Nikkin Thimmiah, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Ramandeep Singh without much success.

SV Sunil has been absolute beast for the side but he has been heavily marked by the defenders and has been finding it very difficult to break the opposition defense on his own and create goal scoring opportunity. To make the matters worse he has not been receiving any support from the rest of the forward line or right half since the sacking of Gurbaj Singh.

Akashdeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmiah are two players who give coach Oltmans some hope and satisfaction despite their performance as Akashdeep has knack of scoring goals at crucial times while Nikkin is one players who has the ability to create goal scoring chances. They will have to pull their socks up in order to give some respite to the coach.

Ramandeep Singh is erratic at the best as he performs in 2 games out of 10 while Talwinder Singh is not an Indian team material as he has been dishing out very ordinary performance for India.

Mandeep Singh started his career with a bang in the first edition of Hockey India League but has since faded and his goals have dried up. He has scored two goals in the recently concluded Hockey Champions Trophy in England but both the goals were deflections and apart from that he has not done anything extraordinary that will give the coach confidence in him.

In the 33 players probables list for the Rio Olympics, the likes of Yuvraj Walmiki, Affan Yousuf, Lalit Upadhyay and Mohd Amir Khan were named but they were not given enough opportunity to perform, especially Yuvraj Walmiki who is not at all rated by Roelant Oltmans despite doing well for his Hockey India League side Delhi WaveRiders.

The young guns Affan Yousuf, Lalit Upadhyay and Mohd. Amir Khan have all shown glimpses of their talent but they have not played enough for Indian team in last few months. Affan Yousuf has not made a single appearance since last one and half year, Lalit Upadhyay and Mohd. Amir Khan have had opportunities to play. Lalit Upadhyay's last match in Indian colors came in test series against Australia in Nov 2015 while Mohd. Amir Khan was the part of the team which played in Hockey World League in December 2015 where he was not given enough opportunity by the coach to perform.

Since Sandeep Singh took center stage in Indian hockey, goals through penalty corners had been India's main goal scoring weapon but even the penalty corners have dried up as the forward line have failed to earn enough number of penalty corners for the side.

Six nation hockey tournament starting on June 27 is the last chance for coach Oltmans before the Olympics to test his forward line and find out a solution for the goal scoring problems and hopefully by the time tournament ends, Roelant Oltmans would come out with some solution to the problem which has been giving him and Indian hockey fans sleepless nights.

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