IMAGE: PR Sreejesh has manned the Indian goal in the first and third quarters while Krishan Bahadur Pathak has done the same in the second and fourth quarters of a match. Photograph: Hockey India
Veteran PR Sreejesh feels that his fellow India goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak substituting him in alternate quarters in the ongoing hockey World Cup matches was a good strategy from the coach.
Head coach Graham Reid used Sreejesh and Pathan in alternate quarters in the two Pool D matches played so far — against Spain and England. Sreejesh has manned the Indian goal in the first and third quarters while Pathak has done the same in the second and fourth quarters of a match.
“We wanted to prepare together for the next stages of the World Cup. If anytime, anything happens to one of the two goalkeepers, the other will have to be on his toes. So, that is a good strategy,” Sreejesh said.
“We are exchanging in quarters. He is getting exposure while I have got enough experience. It is a good thing for the future,” said the experienced campaigner who has played matches for India.
Both India and England created chances but could not score off them. England got eight penalty corners and none could be converted. India also failed to score from the four PCs they got.
“Somewhere, we need to look into that, where we can, what changes we can make in penalty corners or other goal-scoring opportunities. We must learn from the England match and prepare for the next game.
“Wales are a very good side, they gave a good fight against Spain. We will analyse their game and plan accordingly.”
Asked why England dominated early in the match, Sreejesh said, “We had a very slow start that is why England capitalised on that in the first quarter.
“From the second quarter onwards, we put pressure on them, we bounced back and created opportunities. In our pool, every match is crucial.”
Former captain Manpreet Singh feels India do not need to do anything differently to score more goals against Wales in their last Pool D match on Thursday.
“We will just need to play our game and execute our plans. If we play our normal game, I feel goals will come,” said Manpreet.
England and India are now on four points each from two matches and who top the group and qualify directly for the quarterfinals will be decided on Thursday when India play Wales and England take on Spain. Both the matches will be played at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
When two teams are on equal points and have won the same number of matches, the side with better goal difference will be ranked higher. England have a goal difference of plus five after beating Wales 5-0 in their opening match as against plus two of India who emerged 2-0 winners against Spain.