Harmanpreet Singh (Pic: AFP)
Captain Harmanpreet Singh stood tall with a brace as India stunned Olympic champions Belgium 5-1 to bounce back from back-to-back defeats in their European leg of the the FIH Pro League on Friday.
Star midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad gave India the lead in the first minute of the game, before Harmanpreet (20th and 29th min) scored twice from penalty corners. Amit Rohidas (28th) and Dilpreet Singh (59th) were the other Indian goal scorers.
William Ghislain (45th) scored the lone goal for Belgium in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
India, who had come to Europe as Pro League table toppers, had lost the opening game of the European leg to Belgium 1-2 on May 26 before going down to Great Britain 2-4 the next day.
India play Great Britain again on Saturday.
Meanwhile, during an informal interaction co-ordinated by the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Sujit Ghosh, some of the players shared their experiences of playing for India, the great bonding and banter shared by the teammates and also the coping mechanisms to keep morale high through wins and losses.
"We either win or learn, that's the attitude with which we all play every game. We will never lose, we will only ever learn," said the captain, when asked about tough non-scoring patches in his career.
"We are a mix up of different cultures and the common factor is we are all Indians, the second is hockey and the best part is our shared foodie habits," said Sreejesh, who also shared insights into the many changes he has witnessed in the game over the years.
"The beautiful thing about this team is that they have the talent... they have always had the craft and backing of the country.
"At the same time, they play a different kind of style, which is also engraved in the nature of being in India and Indian, and it works. It's their style, that's the special thing. Unique relationships (within the team) bring unique results," added the team's coach.
(With PTI inputs)