Indian Hockey forward Lalit Upadhyay

New Delhi, September 22: Ahead of next year’s FIH Men’s Hockey World Championship in Odisha, veteran Indian forward Lalit Upadhyay said the team wanted to end the drought for the prestigious trophy.

After an impressive second place finish at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Indian hockey team is looking to make up for the disappointment of the 2018 FIH World Championship in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The Indian team will face England, Spain and Wales in Group D at the FIH Odisha Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023. “We’ve had positive momentum from the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. The past few years have really spurred us on to do our best at camp and at the Worlds that we think need improvement to help us improve as a team and individually to bring our best to the team and perform well. Together with our supporters, we want to overcome the World Cup drought,” said Lalit.

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The Indian team is fortunate to have a unique opportunity to set the record right in front of the home fans, says veteran striker Lalit Upadhyay. “Unfortunately, we conceded a goal in the final minutes of the quarter-final match at the last World Cup in Bhubaneswar, but since then the team has improved by leaps and bounds, we are considered serious contenders for the title. Our aim now is to use our advantage at home audience to put on a dazzling performance and hopefully a medal,” he explained.

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Lalit Upadhyay made his national team debut in 2014 and has scored 31 goals in 133 caps. He leads the team’s forward line along with Mandeep Singh. “I take great pride every time I put on the Indian jersey to step onto the field and I always remember that this could be the last time I experience anything like this team and have been working on my fitness to cope with that.” to meet the level of the team. I’ve gotten more consistency in my game over the last few years and I’m proud to be seen as one of the most experienced players on the team and to take on the extra responsibilities that come with it,” Lalit said of his journey so far.

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When asked how he helps younger players on the team, he said: “It’s important to help them build their combination and decision-making with the team. Getting that straight will make it easier to fool opposing defenders and we’ll get the result we want. The only way to build that understanding is to play as a team, for the team, and not take all the pressure on us to score goals alone.”

Ahead of their World Cup season at home, they face Spain and New Zealand in FIH Hockey Pro League games starting October 28 in Odisha. Preparations for these games are in full swing at SAI Bengaluru.


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