Ipoh (Malaysia), Apr 30 (PTI) Coach Roelant Oltmans says India’s penalty corner shooter Harmanpreet Singh has the ability to become the best drag-flicker in the world.
Praising Harmanpreet, who scored two goals in today s 3-0 victory over New Zealand in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Oltmans said the young penalty corner justified the faith reposed in him.
Harmanpreet was allowed to take most of the penalty corners despite the presence of the dependable Rupinderpal Singh in the team.
“Harmanpreet is a fantastic drag-flicker he proved it with two fantastic goals. If he continues to play this way, he can become the number one drag flicker in the world in a couple of years,” said Oltmans
“I see his tremendous potential in the team s training sessions. He needs to be given the opportunity and exposure to improve,” the coach said.
Harmanpreet came into goal-scoring action today after striker Mandeep Singh had deflected a bouncing shot from Chinglensana Singh into the New Zealand goal in the 23rd minute.
Harmanpreet’s two penalty corner conversions came in the 27th and 47th minutes with varied shots. The first one was a grounder that went into the boards and the second a rasping flick that soared into the net.
Oltmans agreed that Harmanpreet did not score too many goals in the Junior World Cup that India won in December.
“Harmanpreet is young and he needs to perform under pressure. He needs to be at his best and the only way to test him is let him take more penalty corner shots,” he said.
Harmanpreet today took six out of India s seven penalty corners against New Zealand. The push was not stopped on two of these penalty corners.
Rupinderpal took the shot only on the last of India s seven penalty corners.
Oltmans said holding Rupinderpal back was not part of a plan, just an attempt to boost Harmanpreet s confidence.
“Both Rupinder and Harmanpreet are fantastic drag- flickers. We have some strategy to take our decisions. We all know that Rupinder was by far the No. 1 drag-flicker and top scorer in the Asian Champions Trophy six months ago,” he said.
Rupinder had scored 11 goals to spur India s title- clinching show in the Asian Champions Trophy.
Oltmans said he was afraid that today s afternoon game could be disrupted by the weather, which yesterday delayed the start of the match against Great Britain by two hours and interrupted the players preparations.
“We were a bit afraid about rain and lightning again today. But thankfully there was none of it during our match, said Oltmans.
A heavy downpour, accompanied by lightening, began soon after the Indians had walked off the pitch. The second match started an hour behind schedule.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.