Jun 3, 2012

Five Indian players who impressed in Sultan Azlan Shah

Manpreet Singh, the find of the tournament
Sultan Azlan Shah has been beneficial for the Indian team. It is not the bronze medal win but the performance of Indian players who brought a hope among the fans of a better future. Here are the five players who impressed me in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Manpreet Singh

Despite being with the team for nearly one year, his true worth was found out in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Manpreet has got very limited opportunities under coach Michael Nobbs and he has done decently but if we were to select a find of the tournament it was Manpreet Singh. His used his skills and presence of mind effectively to become one of the pillars of the tournament. Manpreet Singh impressed with his style of play and making crucial saves throughout the tournament. Manpreet did have a poor game against Great Britain by giving away penalty corners but he was back at his best against Pakistan. Manpreet Singh’s performance in the bronze medal match also stakes his claim in the Olympic squad. With performance like this he will surely give headache to the Indian coach Michael Nobbs.

SV Sunil

Since coming back after knee injury, SV Sunil has stood out to be India’s main attacking weapon. His deadly runs from the right flank caused many problems from the opposition defenders. He was marked very well but still the opposition defenders had no answers against his speed and skill. Most of India’s attacking plans were made around SV Sunil. His goal against Pakistan was one of the most beautiful goals ever scored. He performed exceptionally well in the bronze medal match against Great Britain, and GB defenders were bit uncomfortable stopping him. Surely, first name on Michael Nobbs team list for the London Olympics will by SV Sunil.

VR Raghunath

Many of you who have gone through my blogs and tweets might have read about my criticism of Raghunath but due to his performance in Sultan Azlan Shah I am now a fan of Raghunath. He started the tournament on a poor note but as the tournament progressed his performance improved. More than SV Sunil, it was the performance of Raghunath who helped the Indian team in defeating Pakistan and Great Britian in the tournament. His performance would have been huge sigh of relief for Coach Nobbs who was concerned by India’s defensive problems.

Bharat Chetri

Coach Nobbs might be giving equal chance to Sreejesh to cement his place in the squad but I am pretty sure the only keeper who will make it the cut is Bharat Chetri. 30 year old Indian captain has performed brilliantly in the tournament and with him between the sticks Indian team has won all the games and won bronze medal under his captaincy. Till Olympics, Sreejesh was India’s main goalkeeper and Chetri his deputy but it is Chetri who have come on the top. Chetri has made some great saves in the tournament to give Indian team the victory. In the bronze medal match against Great Britain, Chetri stood like a wall and guided India to victory. His recent performance in the tournament has been extraordinary.

Birendra Lakra

Another young gun who has impressed in the tournament is Birendra Lakra. Birendra who played as centre-half has impressed with his defensive skills by making goal line saves. His presence of mind and commitment has helped Indian team in saving quite number of goals. His best performance of the tournament came against Pakistan when he made goal line saves to give India victory in the tournament. Birendra Lakra’s performance is good sign for the future of Indian hockey.

I knowingly did not include the name of Sardar Singh, he extra ordinary performance have become quite normal affair.

Who were the impressed you the tournament, let us know in the comment box below.  

1 comment:

  1. Debabrata HazarikaJune 3, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Along with the above mentioned 5 players, Sandeep Singh, Sarder Sing, Tushar Kandelkar, S V Uthappa needs to play crucial role during Olympic