Hero Hockey World League: India vs Pakistan finals on players' mind

Jun 18, 2017, 12:31 IST | V Krishnaswamy

India beat Canada 3-0, but players' mind is on big game against the arch-rivals today in London

India’s SV Sunil scores the first goal against Canada in the Hockey World League game on SaturdayIndia's SV Sunil scores the first goal against Canada in the Hockey World League game on Saturday

It might have been only a match against Canada, but no one could help getting ahead of themselves at the Hero Hockey World League, while talking of the clash against Pakistan, which comes on a Super Sunday. Less than an hours drive, the cricket teams from India and Pakistan will be contesting for the ICC Champions Trophy title.

The Indian coach, Roelant Oltmans, captain Manpreet Singh and the senior most player, Sardar Singh, all sought to downplay the upcoming match. But it was clear 'it' was on their mind, alright.

But first, the clash against Canada. After seeing the Canadian, who have four players of Indian origin, the Panesar brother, Sukhi and Balraj, and the Perreira brothers, Brandon and Keegan, outplay Pakistan 6-0 last night at the Lee Valley Centre, there may have been some concerns in the Indian camp. Oltmans was here to see the match as were some other players. But all that disappeared as the Indians came out blazing. If they were quiet and 'too' eager to score in the game against Scotland, they were composed and well-planned against Canada. They struck in the fifth minute off an acute angle. That was soon after a first minute penalty corner, underlining India's intentions from the start.

"No matter, which is the team is, results like 4-1 (against Scotland) and 3-0 (against Canada) are good at this level of competition," said a pleased Oltmans. "They played to a plan and that's what I wanted. Sometimes they seemed too eager to score, but I would like to see them play to a plan. They are doing that more often and I am pleased."

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