Top priority is to hit the same fitness levels we were at earlier this year, says striker Lalit Upadhyay

Indian men’s hockey team forward Lalit Upadhyay was all-praise for the Belgian attack that imposed a massive 6-1 win against Germany in the FIH Hockey Pro League match on Tuesday Night. The League resumed after a six-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Indian Team, who had beaten Belgium 2-1 in their first match and lost 3-2 in their second match when they took on the World Champions earlier this year, keenly followed the proceedings of the match. 

“All of us had been looking forward for the FIH Hockey Pro League matches to start. Although we were hoping for a close game, it turned out to be quite one-sided. The German side struggled against their opponent’s attack and Belgium’s success inside the circle was very impressive,” expressed Lalit Upadhyay, who is part of the on-going National Coaching Camp in SAI, Bengaluru. 

He further emphasized that there was a lot to pick-up from the match between the two European powerhouses. “All six goals for Belgium came from six different goal-scorers. There is a lot to pick up from and analyze from this match. The loopholes in Germany’s defence is also something we can learn from as to what not to do against a team like Belgium,” stated Upadhyay. 

The experienced forward pointed out that the Indian Team is currently working towards achieving their earlier form and fitness has been the top priority in the on-going camp. He said, “We were able to resume activities because of the early measures taken by Hockey India who ensured a Hockey SOP was in place as early as April. We were all briefed on guidelines to follow once the National Camp would begin so in that sense, resuming activities was smooth. Now our top priority is to hit the same fitness levels we were at earlier this year. Something that Germany seemed to struggle yesterday was with their speed and fitness so when we get back to competitive hockey that should not be the case with us.” 

While the Indian Team has been training in a bio-secure environment at the SAI Centre Bangalore with zero contact from the outside world, Upadhyay is hopeful the India can return to competitive hockey soon. “We know Hockey India and the Coaching Staff have put together a plan for us to resume competitive hockey. We are hopeful that we can hit good form before that. Our intensity in National Camp will increase October onwards and we are moving in the right direction and are prepared for any scenarios,” Upadhyay expressed.

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