Bengaluru, Mar 25 (PTI) The Indian women's hockey team returned winless from its recent tours of Argentina and Germany but vice-captain Savita feels the matches against the higher-ranked opponents gave the players a chance to fine-tune their game ahead of the Olympic Games.
India played seven matches during the Argentina tour in January-February. They drew two matches against the host country's junior team, lost the next two against Argentina B side and then suffered defeats in the two games against world number two Argentina senior team.
In the tour of Germany in February-March, the Indian women's team lost all its four matches against the world number three home side.
'Not having played competitive matches in over a year, we were not sure how we would do against top teams like Argentina and Germany,' Savita said in a press release by Hockey India.
'We had worked a lot on our fitness and played a lot of matches amongst each other ... but it was only when we played against Argentina did we realise where we really stand in our tactical performance and areas that need improvement ahead of the Olympics,' the ace goalkeeper added.
Savita feels the two tours were also important in terms of providing exposure to some of the young players in the team, who needed to understand the tempo required to play the world's top sides.
'Quite a few youngsters got a chance to play in these two tours and this was very important as they would understand and learn the temperament and the level required to do well against such top teams.
'We were also able to try different combinations during the tours and I feel all this will certainly help in the days leading up to the Olympics.' With the Tokyo Olympics less than four months away, Savita says there is a lot of excitement among the members of the core group.
'Every player in the core group is very excited and are giving their 100 per cent in every session. We have a strong pool of players and each one is very competitive and will be gunning for a place in the final team for the Olympics,' she said.
For now, during the ongoing national camp at SAI Center, Bengaluru, the core group has been working to improve its overall game, besides focussing on fitness.
'Fitness has played a major role in our improvement so far and if we have to do well in Tokyo, fitness will play a crucial role considering the weather conditions over there.
'We are currently also working on creating more scoring chances and improving our defence. We are leaving no stone unturned in our preparations,' said Savita. PTI PDS PM PM