Indian hockey team rise to their best-ever rank

The Manpreet Singh-led side is placed fourth in the lastest FIH Rankings following a commendable run in the FIH Pro League.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

A fine run in their debut campaign in the FIH Pro League has seen the Indian hockey team rise to their best-ever ranking on the FIH charts.

In the latest rankings released on Monday, the Graham Reid-coached side is placed fourth. The top three remain unchanged with Belgium leading and Australia and the Netherlands occupying the second and third spot respectively.

Meanwhile, the Indians have replaced Olympic champions Argentina on the fourth spot.

Four-time Olympic champions Germany are sixth while England has held on to their seventh place despite a below-par start to their FIH Pro League season that includes a win, a loss and two draws in their four games so far.

The Indian hockey team have been on a fine run of form in the Olympic year so far, recording a handful of convincing wins over top-ranked sides in the FIH Pro League.

While they began their campaign with a dominant 5-2 win over the Dutch, the Indians showed their defensive resolve in the following matches as they held their ground against the Belgians and the Australians to come up with quality performances.

Change in the Indian hockey team’s system

While India’s attacking intent has barely been in doubt over the past few years, Graham Reid seems to have worked on their defensive shape, something that has helped them hold on to the leads the team has managed in the matches so far.

Another stark change that has caught the opponents by surprise is the Indian hockey team’s shift from their traditional man-to-man marking to a zonal system.

“The switch from man-to-man to zonal (marking system) is also improving. The team is getting used to the new structure with every passing game,” Indian striker Gurjant Singh had told the Olympic Channel in the past.

“The zonal system means, we don’t have to run as much as we used to. We are conserving our energy and that’s helping us last longer and be effective even in the final quarter.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand continues to occupy the eighth spot despite recording two wins in their previous three FIH Pro League encounters.

Among women, the Indian hockey women’s team are placed ninth while the Netherlands, continue to occupy the top spot.