Indian men's hockey team coach Harendra Singh has suggested the players to stick to the basics and play according to the strategy during the upcoming Men's Hockey World Cup beginning November 28.
The coach further asserted that the team are not at all thinking about the crossovers and are focused on the league match at the moment.
"I would suggest the players to stick to basics and play according to the strategy. They should use the crowd as twelfth man and take that extra energy from them," Singh said.
"If you start thinking about the second stage of the tournament then you are inviting pressure. All teams are working hard. If you perform on the day you can defeat any side. We are currently thinking of finishing on top of the pool. Everything else comes later," he added.
When asked to comment about their dismal end to the 2018 Asian Games, where India had settled for a bronze medal despite being the tournament favorite, Singh emphasised that the "defeat is in past and they do not want to go into World Cup with those memories."
"We have forgotten the Asian Games defeat. We are focused more on future. We took collective responsibly for our loss in the event. We have learnt a lot from that," Singh said.
Reflecting on their Pool C counterparts, Belgium, Canada and South Africa, the coach stated that all the three nations have a different style of playing and that they will face distinctive challenge every time they step onto the field.
Indian captain Manpreet Singh too spoke on the lines of their coach asserting that they are not focusing on crossovers.
"We are not focusing on crossovers but the league matches which are really important for us. If we finished on top of the Pool C then I don't think we need to worry much about all these things. Right now, our opening encounter with South Africa is what we are thinking about," Manpreet said.
Meanwhile, South Africa captain Mark Hopkins revealed about the fund crunch issue that his team faced while making their way to the World Cup.
"We are coming into this World Cup with players having to pay from their own pocket. Our challenge is to get the funding in place. Funding is a challenge for us. We are lucky to have sponsors but unfortunately that doesn't really cover the budget for the World Cup. There is a possibility that players might also have to pay for the World Cup trip," Hopkins said.
Talking about their opening clash against India, the captain showed faith in his team saying that they have got the skill set and tactics to play good hockey. He further stated that opposition teams don't really have many of their videos which is an added advantage for them.
"It's exciting that we are playing our first match against the host nation. We will go into the game fairly confident. We feel we have the squad, skill set and tactics to play really good hockey and get results from the match," Hopkins said.
"We probably are a team that opposition has seen less videos off. People know less about our players because we don't play much in the European leagues or Test matches than other nations. That is an advantage for us," he added.
India and South Africa will take on each other in their opening match of the prestigious tournament on November 28 in Bhubaneswar.
Harendra Singh, talks about his equation with the Indian Hockey Team, his ideologies and his strategies for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. #IndiaKaGame #HWC2018 #DilHockey pic.twitter.com/XvuNFzbzdV— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 29, 2018