Enhancing defense key priority for Indian women's hockey in Australia
Adelaide, May 24, 2023, IANS
Indian Women's Hockey Team Vice Captain Deep Grace Ekka emphasized the importance of bolstering their defense for the remaining two matches of their Australia tour and upcoming tournaments, such as the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022.
The team has faced tough competition in their three games against Australia, with two losses of 2-4 and 2-3, respectively, and a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the third game. In their final two matches, they will take on Australia 'A'.
While the Indian team showcased impressive attacking skills in all three games, their defensive performance fell short in preventing goals from the Australian side.
Deep Grace Ekka, a seasoned defender, expressed her concern regarding the matter. She acknowledged the team's strong display against a formidable opponent like Australia but emphasized the need to rectify their defensive lapses.
Ekka stated, "Although we had a good showing in the first three games, particularly in terms of our attacking prowess, we conceded too many goals, which is something we need to address. Therefore, our focus is on enhancing our defensive capabilities in the next two games, concluding the tour on a high note by securing victories."
The vice-captain also highlighted the positive impact a stronger defense would have on the team's forward line.
By preventing easy goals, the defense would create opportunities for the forward players to exert pressure on opponents and unleash their attacking prowess. This, in turn, would increase the team's chances of winning not only in the ongoing tour but also in future tournaments.
Ekka, 28, recently celebrated a significant achievement of completing 250 International Caps, further solidifying her role as an influential figure within the team.
Deep Grace Ekka played a vital role in India's comeback during the third game, where she converted a penalty corner to secure the equalizer after Australia took the lead.
Reflecting on her pivotal goal, Ekka expressed her satisfaction, stating, "It was an incredible feeling to score that goal, especially considering the crucial timing and the impact it had on the game. We began the match strongly, maintaining possession and controlling the tempo in the opening quarter. However, we conceded a goal in the second quarter, which put us on the backfoot.
Subsequently, we were determined to showcase our fighting spirit and find the equalizer. Therefore, I feel fortunate to have delivered for my team when they needed it the most."
As the Indian Women's Hockey Team gears up for their remaining matches in the Australia tour, their focus on strengthening the defense will undoubtedly be instrumental in achieving positive results.
By rectifying their defensive vulnerabilities and capitalizing on their attacking prowess, they aim to conclude the tour on a high note and build confidence for upcoming tournaments. With Deep Grace Ekka's experience and milestone achievement, her presence and contributions will be crucial in guiding the team towards success on their journey.