Sunday, December 28, 2014

Annual Indian Hockey Awards 2014

After a dull 2013, Indian hockey came back strongly in 2014 and gave Indian hockey fans some memorable moments, be it finishing strongly in Hockey World League finals, winning Asian Games Gold and qualifying for the Olympics or winning a test series against Australia for the first time.

The year started with sixth year finish in Hockey World League followed by dismal performance in the World Cup. Terry Walsh and his men came back strongly by winning Silver in Commonwealth Games and Gold in Asian Games that helped India to qualify for the Olympics. The momentum continued with India's first test series win against the World Champions Australia and forth place finish in the recently concluded Champions Trophy.


During the year, Indian players have given some excellent performances starting from Sardara Singh to keeper Sreejesh. With the year ending it is time to recognize the best performers of Indian team with annual awards.

We decided to award players in six major categories as Best Striker, Best Midfielder, Best Defender, Young Player of the Year, Player of the Year and Best Domestic Team. Following are our winners of 2014:

BEST STRIKER
Winner- SV Sunil

SV Sunil- India's Shatabdi Express
Indian hockey's Shatabdi Express SV Sunil had a poor start to the year 2014 with performances in the Hockey World
League and World Cup but with Commonwealth Games, his path to redemption started and by the time Asian Games started, we saw SV Sunil of the old, taking defenders on and creating chances for his fellow strikers. His performance in the test series against Australia before Champions Trophy was nothing short of extraordinary when he single-handedly destroyed Australian defence and helped India win their first ever test series against World Champions Australia. SV Sunil scored just three goals in the year but his bursts from the flank gave opposition defenders a nightmare and this makes him our striker of the year.

BEST MIDFIELDER
Winner- Gurbaj Singh

Gurbaj Singh- The Comeback Man
The comeback man, Gurbaj Singh wins our midfielder of the year award despite having the likes of ever impressive Sardar Singh and Manpreet Singh by his side. After being dropped for poor performance in London Olympics, Gurbaj Singh stayed out of the team for the year and made his comeback in 2014 and since his comeback; he has once again become Gurbaj Singh the fans loved. He has been quite influential in these performances, linking with the attack as well his working as an extra defender when the team needed him. The way he organized Indian midfield during the match against New Zealand in Commonwealth Games spoke volumes about his performance this year. His presence on the field was a huge relief for hockey fans as everyone knew there is a reliable Gurbaj Singh on the field who shall do his best for Indian team.

BEST DEFENDER
Winner- Rupinder Pal Singh

The year 2014 saw transformation of Rupinder Pal-the penalty corner expert to Rupinder Pal-the defender
Rupinder Pal Singh- Best Defender of 2014
as he surpassed Raghunath to become India's best defender. Despite India ending up on losing side on numerous occasions, Rupinder Ral's performance in India's shirt has been a treat to watch. The improvement of his performance was such that former Indian coach Terry Walsh started preferring him more than the experienced Raghunath in defence as well as during penalty corners. His was standout performer for Indian team in the Asian Games and Champions Trophy making critical saves during the games. Rupinder Pal's solid performance throughout the year helped Indian team win some great matches during the year.

BEST YOUNG PLAYER
Winner- Harmanpreet Singh

Harmanpreet Singh- Rising star of Indian hockey
There were many young players who showcased their talent during the year from the likes of Lalit Upadhyay, Affan Yousuf to Varun Kumar and Harjeet Singh but it was defender and penalty corner expert Harmanpreet Singh who wins the award for best young player of the year. Hailing for Punjab, Harmanpreet Singh's performance in Sultan of Johor Cup earned him best player of the tournament scoring 9 goals in the tournament that included two hat-tricks. His performance in the tournament did not go un-noticed as he was picked by Dabang Mumbai for USD 51000. At just 18, he is the brigtest young prospect in Indian hockey and it is anticipated that very soon he will be knocking doors of Indian senior team.

BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner- PR Sreejesh
Best player- That's my spot

Move over Sardara Singh, PR Sreeejesh has knocked you out from your spot to become best player of the
year. If you had to give credit to one player for India's performance in 2014, it has to be Sreejesh who lived up to his name of 'Great Wall of India' by guiding Indian team to medals in CWG, Asian Games and series win against Australia. The best performance by Sreejesh this year was in the Asian Games final against Pakistan where he defended his country's goal and pride during the penalty shootout. In the shoot-outs, Sreejesh denied three Pakistan players to win Asian Games and help Indian team qualify for Rio Olympics.

With this category we are at the end of the annual awards. Do you agree with our picks? Let us now by leaving us a comment below

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