Bhubaneswar: Midfielder Chinlensana Singh Kangujam believes India can easily beat world no. 2 Australia in the upcoming FIH Pro League encounter if the hosts perfectly execute their plans on the field.
India will take on Australia in their next two-leg FIH Pro League match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday and Saturday.
While India had defeated Netherlands in their maiden FIH Pro League encounter, they won one match and lost one against world champions Belgium in their next outings here.
"I think our performances against Netherlands and Belgium have been quite satisfying for everyone. We have played according to the strategies that our chief coach (Graham Reid) and the support staff have made, and I think the execution on the field was there for everyone to see," he said.
"Now we are completely focused on Australia, who are a good side. They like to play a very aggressive brand of hockey, but we are very well prepared to tackle that, and we all believe that if we play according to our plans, we will definitely end up winning both the matches."
India's work ethic in the mid-field has proved to be the difference in their initial four matches of the FIH Hockey Pro League which sees them sit on the third spot in the table with eight points from four matches.
The return of experienced Chinglensana has certainly helped the team. Before this FIH Pro League matches, he last represented India in December 2018.
The Arjuna Awardee sustained a long-term injury to his right ankle in early 2019, which saw him miss all the competitions held last year. After participating in Hockey India Senior National Championship in 2019, he started feeling pain in his right ankle, but when he finally went for scans, he was told he had a fracture.
"The initial few weeks were obviously very tough for me because there were thoughts in my head which said I may not be able to play for India again. But the support that I received from my family, teammates and coaches was exceptional," Chinglensana said.
"I was in rehab, and would watch my teammates play on the pitch, and I would feel very sad because playing hockey is something that I have loved all my life. However, slowly I recovered from the injury, and my initial target was to return for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in November 2019 to help my team, but there were a few setbacks along the way," he added.
The 28-year-old from Manipur finally made a comeback into the team during the FIH Hockey Pro League matches against The Netherlands last month, and calls it "one of the best moments of my life."
Having earned more than 200 international caps for the country, Chinglensana says he enjoys the responsibility of grooming younger players, and wants to help the team in bagging a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Having made a comeback to the team now at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020, I am really delighted because I can help the team from within, and can also guide the younger players," he said.
"We have some fantastic young talent who are ready to take on the world, and with Vivek (Sagar Prasad) winning the FIH Rising Star of the Year Award, and the likes of Raj Kumar Pal and Hardik Singh also trying to make a case for themselves, it gives me immense satisfaction to be able to help them with little tips and knowledge about the game.