Fine-tuning certain aspects of our game will make a big difference at Olympics: Nilakanta

Fine-tuning a few aspects of the Indian men hockey team’s game will make a big difference at the Olympics, reckons midfielder Nilakanta Sharma.

The Indian team has done well against top teams in the FIH Hockey Pro League, but Sharma feels that there is still room for improvement.

“Playing well against the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia at the FIH Hockey Pro League has certainly given us a lot of confidence in our abilities,” said Sharma, who has played over 50 matches for the national side.

“However, we have identified a few areas that we need to fine-tune in the upcoming months. Sometimes small changes make a big difference to the way a team performs and we are looking to make those small changes to our game.

“If we fine-tune our game properly, we will certainly be a much better unit at the Olympics,” he added.

Asked how he felt about his game, Sharma said, “This is a tricky period for us. We have to be very careful. We shouldn’t push too hard and neither should we take it too easy as well.

“Personally, I am happy with the way I am moving forward with my game everyday. We are taking small steps at the moment. There’s still a lot of time to go for the Olympics,” he added.

The 25-year-old said that since the team has spent so much time together at the SAI campus in Bengaluru in the last few months, the coordination between the players on the pitch could improve.

“In sport, it’s not only about having a great understanding on the pitch but off the pitch relations between players also have a huge impact on performances,” Sharma said.

“We have become a much closer unit in the last few months since we have spent a lot of time together at SAI campus. This could have a major impact on our coordination on the pitch,” he added.