With less than 100 days to go for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Indian Women’s Hockey Team midfielder Nikki Pradhan believes the team is moving in the right direction. Having played top teams like Argentina and Germany earlier this year has provided them important stats that will help them prepare best ahead of the prestigious quadrennial event.
“The experience of playing against top teams like World No.2 Argentina and World No.3 Germany has been very crucial in our preparations for the Olympic Games. Many youngsters in the team had never faced teams of such calibre and the team’s stats against these top teams projects the areas we need to work on and that is the focus of our ongoing national camp,” stated the experienced midfielder who became the first hockey player from Jharkhand to participate in the Olympic Games when she played for India at the Rio Olympics.
Basis the team’s analysis of playing against Argentina and Germany in their recent tour, Nikki feels there is a lot of scope to improve particularly in converting goal-scoring opportunities. “The good part about these matches was that we were showing improvement match-by-match. Both Argentina and Germany play with unique styles and facing them in their home ground is always challenging but we held strong,” she said.
“I believe we still have a lot of scope to improve in our attack and the focus is on bettering our conversion rate in the circle. At the same time, I feel the communication particularly between midfielders and forwardline has improved a lot over the past few years mainly because we have played together for so long,” she added.
While the team is preparing for their next exposure tour, Nikki says the team is not letting any outside circumstance hinder their focus. “We don’t want to think about whether we will get to play the next tour or not. With the changing dynamics around the globe due to covid-19, our Chief Coach always tells us not to think of the issues that are not in our control. We are just happy to be in a facility like SAI Centre, Bengaluru where all our needs are taken care of and we are very grateful to Hockey India and SAI for ensuring our training goes on smoothly,” Nikki concluded.