The Indian women hockey team’s two FIH Pro League matches against England, which were earlier postponed due to COVID-related issues in the English side, have been cancelled, handing the Savita-led side the top position in the standings.
The two matches were initially scheduled for April 2 and 3 at the Kalinga Staium here but postponed due to a high number of COVID-19 cases and injuries in the England team. The Indian team has now been awarded six points — three each for a match — for the two cancelled games.
“The FIH Hockey Pro League matches between India and England (Women), initially scheduled on 2 and 3 April in Bhubaneswar, India, but postponed due to a high number of COVID cases and injuries affecting the English team, will unfortunately be cancelled, eventually,” the world governing body said in a statement.
“Indeed, despite all efforts from Hockey India, England Hockey and FIH, no dates could be found to reschedule the matches in India. Consequently, it has been agreed between the FIH and the 2 nations that the 6 points available for these 2 matches will be awarded to India.”
With six points from the two cancelled matches, India leapfrogged Olympic champions Netherlands to occupy the top position in the standings with 22 points. The Dutch are second at 19 points while Germany (13) are third.
India had beaten the Netherlands 2-1 in the first match of the two-legged tie here on Friday before losing 1-3 in the shootout in the second game on Saturday.
Speaking about her team’s performance in the home matches here, India chief coach Janneke Schopmanof said, “If we look at the initial games we played against China in Oman and then here against Spain, we made a lot of steps, a lot of things better as compared to initial matches, but still lots to learn, lots to improve.
On the match India lost in the shootout against Netherlands on Saturday, Schopman said that despite putting pressure on their opponents, her side neglected to create more outcomes.
“I think we played well for most of the game. In the first three quarters, we put a lot of pressure on them, but we neglected to create more outcomes. We little bit rushed in the end phase, and unfortunately, we didn’t score PCs today.
“And, in the fourth quarter, we lacked a little bit composure and lost the ball towards them.”
Captain Savita admitted Netherlands played better than in their first match which India won 2-1.
With less than 100 days to go for the FIH Women’s World Cup to be held in Spain and Netherlands, Savita said that the Pro League experience will help the team prepare for the marquee event.
“We’ve played our Pro League matches against quality teams, and it’s been great learning for us. It is really helping us prepare for the upcoming tournaments, especially the World Cup,” she signed off.