Will use Champions Trophy, Six Nation Tournament to determine India's final combination: Oltmans
Fresh from a week-long break post the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, Indian captain Sardar Singh and his team were put through the rigors of a gruelling yo-yo test to access their fitness level at Sports Authority of India (SAI) South Centre on Tuesday.
Bengaluru: Fresh from a week-long break post the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, Indian captain Sardar Singh and his team were put through the rigors of a gruelling yo-yo test to access their fitness level at Sports Authority of India (SAI) South Centre on Tuesday.
Speaking about his team's recent outing, chief coach Roelant Oltmans said: "Satisfied is a big word and people who know me, know well that I can't feel satisfied so easily, but the performance of the team is always getting better. It is important to me as a coach that the level we touched remains consistent."
On the final against Australia, Oltmans feels that the team's defence tactics were good.
"Australia is the no. 1 side in the world but at the same time, we put forth an improved show at Azlan Shah. Our defence was well structured," said the Dutchman.
"We had an experimental team at Azlan Shah. Shreejesh is the no. 1 goal keeper in India and we didn't bring him to Malaysia to test the others. While I believe, Harjot and Akash could have done better, we are overall working to better goalkeeping with the seven other boys via special sessions."
With exactly 101 days left before their first tie in the Rio Olympics, Oltmans' aim is to improve by another 10 per cent in every aspect of the game.
"If we manage to do that then we come close to being medal contender which is our core mission. We also play a few games such as Champions Trophy, Six Nations Tournament which will determine the best combination plays at the Olympics. We also play friendlies with Spain, Belgium and New Zealand. This gives us opportunity to test like we did in Malaysia," the coach concluded.
The experts stressed on the need to strike a balance between bio-security bubbles and the avoidance of "excessive" mental health costs to the players.
The 36-year-old revealed on Monday that he had been suffering pain in his neck and left arm due to a bulging disc which hampered his ability to train at full intensity.
India and Australia are set to lock horns in a multi-format series comprising three ODIs, the day-night Test, and three T20s, starting on 21 September. The Test will be played from 30 September to 3 October in Canberra.