Jun 3, 2012

Five things I learnt from Sultan Azlan Shah cup 2012

One of the outstanding players of the tournament

Brilliant goals by Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh and Tushar Khandekar helped India to beat Great Britian 3-1 and win bronze medal in the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Here are five things I learnt for India;s performance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

1. India can play good hockey

Except the first game against New Zealand, India played well in the tournament. India managed to win bronze in the tournament but the performance of team against higher ranked teams was good compared to the thrashing the Indian team has been receiving. India lost three games in the tournament but except the game against New Zealand the margin of defeat was just one goal. In the bronze medal match of the tournament, the Indian team played their best game under Coach Nobbs. In the semi-final game the team defended as one unit, attacked as one unit and scored 3 goals to beat Great Britain, the team ranked 4th in the FIH rankings. If India plays like this consistently, top 6 finish will not be just a dream.

2. Shivendra is the most important player of Indian team

SV Sunil’s heroics might be getting all the applauds from the public but its Shivendra Singh who is the main strength of the Indian side. Every attack that Indian team made has involved Shivendra Singh as one of the players and his absence against Argentina due to injury cost India the game, as India could not find any attacking options. Shivendra in the centre of the midfield, supported by Tushar and Sunil could be very lethal for the opposition. Shivendra Singh presence in the striking circle, gives India more than one chance to score a goal. With Shivendra in the side in his top form, Indian team can surely finish top 6 in the tournament.

3. Gurbaj Singh’s return has strengthened the midfield

Return of Gurbaj Singh in the side will be huge sigh of relief for Coach Nobbs who was worried about Indian midfield. Gurbaj Singh’s return added stability to the midfield and also gave Indian team more defenders and attacking options. Since his return from injury, Indian midfield looks much better and also he lends an extra hand in the midfield. He is also combining well with SV Sunil to give India another attacking option. So his return in the side will boost the Indian side and will give an extra player in every part of the game.

4.Young guns giving headache to Coach Nobbs

No its not they are performing badly, but they are performing really really well and that is giving headache to Indian coach Michael Nobbs.  Manpreet Singh has been the find of the tournament. The performance of SK Uthappa and Kothjit Singh in the forward line and midfield respectively has been exceptionally well. There performance will cause many problems in selecting 16 men team for the Olympics. With their recent performance they have staked a claim in the team and Coach Nobbs will have sleepless nights in selecting the team for the Olympics.

5.Indian defence is inconsistent

Going back from the earlier statement about Indian defence being poor, I now believe that Indian defence is inconsistent. Sometimes Indian defence is absolutely brilliant and displays the class while other time Indian defence gets poor. In Sultan Azlan Shah Cup too Indian defence was inconsistent, the first game against New Zealand, Indian defence was dreadful but the same defence was absolutely world class against Great Britain. Raghunath was a big pillar of Indian defence in the tournament and his improved performance in defence gave fans some hope of good show in the Olympics. The fact that Raghunath was helped by Sandeep and Manpreet gave fans a glimmer of podium finish.

With this performance Indian team has repaid the faith of Coach Michael Nobbs and raised a hope among fans that future of Indian hockey is bright


  1. Its regret to see India beat GB last night. Well done team and especially the coach who had faith in the team after its poor performance in the initial matches. Now he has to fine tune the forwards to coordinate and finish well every time they go into the circle they either score or get a PC. Then the backs and halves have to be consistent and all they need to do is follow Sardar the brilliance of the team good passes and not to panic keep the composure even under pressure. 

  2. KayceeinternationalJune 4, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Full support should be given to the coach Michael Nobbs and the team to do better in future games. I am sure the government can afford to lift up the standards of the coach and players and rest of the team to encourage them to do better in the future. Winning the bronze medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey cup 2012 was not a big feat but beating Great Britain after they beat us a week ago was not only a great achievement but a fantastic display where GB were lucky not to have got more goals scored because of poor finish from our forward line. Otherwise GB was totally outplayed and I would say if India plays like this they can be the best team in the world. So lets not wait for another win or loss lets start to recognise them encourage and support them on their way to improving and coming to the top. I hope Manmohan Singh is alerted to this support that is required.