India may have enjoyed a winning run in the opening two games of the ongoing Hockey World League semifinals, but coach Paul van Ass admits that the team has faced penalty corner issues in the absence of injured drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh.
India’s penalty corner attempts have made little impression in the matches against minnows France and Poland, although stand-in shooter Manpreet Singh scored a goal in the opening fixture.
In three penalty corners against Poland, India came nowhere near posting a threat to the rival citadel, while Manpreet managed to place a shot into the left corner of the board out of the three penalty corners India secured in the earlier outing against France.
“We’re a bit weak at the penalty corners at the moment,” said van Ass. “Rupinder has not been fit and we did not play him in these two games.”
Rupinder sustained an injury during the warm-up games here in Antwerp, after coming in as a replacement for V R Raghunath in the originally-chosen squad. He yesterday trained with the Indian team on the pitch ahead, indicating he would be ready for the next outing against Pakistan on Friday.
“Yes, Rupinder will play the next game,” the coach said.
Van Ass had initially left Rupinder out of the squad, deciding to include only frontline drag-flicker in Raghunath.