CWG 2022 Hockey: From scintillating to sorry, India’s story of two halves vs England | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

NEW DELHI: Monday 30 minutes of tinkering India hockey lovers back to the past. It was sparkling and silky. In the background of the University of Birmingham campus, the English looked like freshmen in a hockey class.
The home crowd bobbed every time an English stick tapped the ball forward. But for the better part of the first two quarters, those ticks followed strange pick-ups after an Indian attack.
Outnumbered in the stands and cheered on by their English counterparts, the Indian supporters sat quietly for a change – numbed by a sense of nostalgia unfolding on the pitch.
If the strange flee and dodge Harmanpreet’s body inside? EnglandHalf of the hockey fans were reminiscent of Pargat Singh, Nilakanta’s pass to cut the defense in half evoked memories of Prabhjot. And Mandeep’s finishing touch completed that famous trio from the past, with Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur all rolled into one.
Three goals in the first 22 minutes was a hard lesson for England to digest. After all, this was the ‘match of Pool B’ – which is expected to decide who will finish on top and face the number 2 team in Pool A in the semi-finals. But this script was certainly not what both India and England would have had in mind before the game started.
Modern hockey is a strange game and can change in seconds. This one did too.
Despite a 4-1 lead, India was held to a 4-4 draw by the English.

Taking nothing away from England’s comeback, the way the game was turned upside down and the reasons behind it is what top players in top teams always try to avoid.
When Mandeep scored his second goal in the 22nd minute, India played with 10 men. Defender Varun Kumara was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute for a five-minute suspension. But India held out, Varun returned to the field and at halftime, trailing 0-3, England stared at a dragging attack.
But what that one-man advantage did five minutes before halftime was that it allowed England to regroup and find some momentum. They had three shots on the Indian post between the 20th and the 30th minute. It laid the foundation for their first goal in the 42nd minute over Liam Ansell. And before the third quarter ended, Varun was penalized for his second offense with another yellow card.
This time the suspension lasted 10 minutes.

Going against the grain, India managed to regain their three-goal lead when Harmanpreet’s drag-flick from a penalty corner made it 4-1. But Nicholas Bandurak (47th minute) and Phillip Roper (50th) equalized England’s goal. It was then 4-3.
In fact, Roper’s goal showed that the situation and the fact that one man was down played hard on the Indian players’ minds. The England striker’s overlapping run from the left side of the Indian circle ended in pushing the ball past goalkeeper PR Sreejesh onto the nearest post from a zero angle. That doesn’t happen often.
But the “card game” didn’t stop there. Gurjant Singh was also shown a yellow card — a raised stick deemed too dangerous by the umpire, who penalized the Indian striker with a 10-minute suspension instead of the usual five for a yellow card. India had nine players left in the fourth quarter for three minutes before Varun returned from his second suspension to make 10 players on the pitch.
But for the time when India had nine players on the pitch, Bandurak scored his second goal and the equalizer in the 53rd minute to thrill the home fans.
A match that appeared to be firmly in India’s grasp ended with England splitting points. However, with a game in hand compared to England, captain Manpreet Singh’s team can still finish at the top of Pool B.

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(Getty images)
But this game needs to undergo some serious postmortem by the Indian think tank. The indiscipline that led to the yellow cards must be addressed by coach Graham Reid, and then play the situation rather than the ball where India was discovered in the last quarter. However, there is no doubt that defending with nine players against eleven in modern hockey is a very arduous task.
“The only reason the game ended in a 4-4 draw when we were leading 4-1 in the fourth quarter is that we completely lost discipline with two yellow cards and were nine men for most of the fourth quarter. because we played badly,” former India captain Viren Rasquinha wrote on Twitter.
Rasquinha, who heads Olympic Gold Quest, went on to emphasize that players who are not penalized for a criminal offense in the domestic circuit lead to bad habits when they go international.
“Whether the two yellow cards warranted a 10-minute suspension each (for Varun and Gurjant) or not is debatable, but they were both 100% yellow cards. Just because umpires don’t penalize dangerously raised sticks in domestic hockey doesn’t mean our players will get away with the same in international hockey.
“If referees don’t whistle such mistakes in domestic hockey, it leads to bad habits for which India is punished. Imagine if the same situation had to happen in the fourth quarter of an Olympic final. A big part of the discipline in hockey is concentration “I can’t afford stupid mistakes that hurt the team,” Rasquinha, a junior World Cup winner and silver medalist from Asain Games, said in another tweet.


(Reuters photo)
In simple terms, India went from sparkle to regret in a two-half story on Monday.
The Indian men are now playing back-to-back games against Canada and Wales on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, and a much more disciplined effort is expected from the team, which had to return medalless from the last edition of the CWG in 2018 after the losing the bronze medal game against England 2-1.

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