Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Jan 9 : Ahead of the FIH Hockey Pro League season, India’s Mandeep Singh said he is looking forward to making a winning start in 2020.
India will take on the Netherlands in their first leg of FIH Hockey Pro League matches in Bhubaneswar on January 18 and 19 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.
“We have always played close matches against the Netherlands and although we have not played them over the past year, we believe we have improved as a team with good structure and scoring capabilities,” Singh said in a statement.
“Also we are playing at home, so we would definitely not want to let our spectators down. We want to make a winning start to the season,” he added.
As the team will be playing two matches in two days, Singh said that their training sessions have been planned accordingly.
“Since we will be playing two back-to-back high-intensity matches in the FIH Hockey Pro league with little less than 24 hours of recovery time between matches, the training sessions are planned in such a way that we have red sessions (high-intensity training) on back-to-back days and then rest or train light the next session,” Singh said.
Singh further stated that their scores in Yo-Yo has been better than ever before and the team can press hard till the last minute of play without feeling exhausted.
“Robin Arkel (Scientific Advisor) planned extremely tough gym sessions in the previous camp. Even though we are a fit team, the focus was to build on our strength much more. The effort has paid off because our scores in Yo-Yo this time has been better than ever before,” he said.
“This was important as speed and fitness is going to play a major role in the next 7-8 months of intense hockey that we will play. We can notice the difference in our training and can press hard till the last minute of play without feeling exhausted,” Singh added.
Singh scored maximum goals for India last year but he credited his teammates for him being able to net the ball.
“If I am scoring goals then it is because of the assists I am getting from my teammates. My understanding with seniors SV Sunil, Ramandeep and Akashdeep is much better as we have spent more time together and we discuss and debate a lot off the field to try and analyse how we played and where we could have created a gap and how we need to work inside the circle. I think this has really helped me a lot to improve as a striker,” he said.