Experienced midfielders group will be key to our success: Pradhan

Midfielder Nikki Pradhan has stated the present experienced midfielders group will hold the key for the Indian women’s hockey team at the big tournaments in the upcoming years.

“We are very lucky to have so many midfielders in the Indian team, who have already played 100 matches for the national side,” said Pradhan.

“Experience is a huge factor when it comes to big tournaments like the Olympics and if we play at our hundred per cent then we can win against any team. Experience teaches one to be calm and think clearly under pressure and therefore our experienced midfielders group will be the key to our success in the upcoming years,” she added.

Pradhan has been part of many memorable moments for the national side which includes the gold medal win at the Women’s Asia Cup 2017, victory at the FIH Women’s Series Finals 2019 and booking a place at the Tokyo Olympics after defeating USA at the Olympic Qualifiers last year.

The 26-year-old, who became the first woman hockey player from Jharkhand to represent India in the Olympics in 2016, also spoke about her experience at the quadrennial event.

“It was fantastic to take part in the Rio Olympics. Just being around the top athletes from all over the world was something else. The Indian women’s hockey team made it to the Olympics after 36 years so it was a huge moment for us.

“However, it was disappointing to come back without a victory. But it didn’t deter us from trying harder and Hockey India has shown tremendous faith in us over all the good and bad times,” she added.

She further mentioned that Hockey India through the Sports Authority of India (SAI), state governments and state units have constructed the “best pitches for practice and international matches” and instilled belief in the team that they could take on any top side in the world.

“When we have a tremendous backing of our own federation, then it inspires us to perform every time we step on the field,” said the midfielder.