We will try out best combinations before final squad for Olympics is selected: Harmanpreet

Bengaluru, 14 May: India will put to test its best strategies and combinations during the European leg of the FIH Pro League as it would be the last opportunity to shortlist the final squad for the Paris Olympics, said men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh on Tuesday.
The team left for Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday for the challenging league, where the winner of this season will be determined. India, currently third in the points table, behind the Netherlands and Australia, will play Belgium and Argentina in Antwerp between May 22 and 26. It will be followed by matches against Germany and Great Britain from June 1-9 in London.
“We are trying out the best combinations before the final squad is selected for the Olympics. Hence, the Pro League outing is crucial in our preparations for Paris as well as for players to make it to the 16-member squad for Paris,” said drag-flicker Harmanpreet in a Hockey India release before the team left for Europe.
Last month, India, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists, lost all their five matches in Australia, raising doubts about their preparations for the Paris Games.
Harmanpreet said the team will focus on eliminating any chinks in its armour ahead of Paris.
“The team is quite excited to get back on the road again for yet another challenging outing where we will take on world’s best teams in the Pro League. We will be travelling on the back of a very intense training camp over the past few weeks where we focused on our conditioning and played intra-squad matches regularly.
“The team is shaping well and the Pro League is an important event for us to iron out the flaws in our execution ahead of the Olympics,” said Harmanpreet.
The skipper said the Pro League will not just help him asses his team’s preparations but also provide cues into the rivals’ strategies.
“We have Belgium and Argentina in our pool at the Olympics along with Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. We play Belgium and Argentina both in Antwerp.
Harmanpreet hoped that after finishing third in the last few seasons of the Pro League, his team would stake claim to the title this time around.
“In the past few seasons of the Pro League, we have finished at third position. It will be great to finish on top this time and we are quite optimistic about it,” he said. (PTI)