Three minute before half-time, India were awarded a penalty corner. Harmanpreet Singh stepped up and produced a soaring drag-flick to give India their second goal against New Zealand in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. 20 minutes later, he was at the circle again, this time his drag went straight into the top corner and he made the scoreline 3-0. The brace helped India win their first match at the tournament after a draw against Great Britain on Saturday.
After his performance on Sunday, Harmanpreet received praise from India coach Roelant Oltmans, who said that he can become the number one drag-flicker in the future.
“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.”
Harmanpret was given a chance ahead of the senior player Rupinder Pal Singh, to take six penalty corners of the seven India were awarded and Oltmans said that he justified the decision.
The two goals from Harmanpreet were scored in the 27th and 47th minute. Out of his six PCs, four were stopped by the New Zealand keeper. Oltmans said that the youngster needs to perform under pressure.
“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.
Oltmans also explained his plan of not giving more chances to Rupinderpal
“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.
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