Harmanpreet Singh-led India lost to New Zealand in the crossover match of the ongoing FIH Hockey World Cup and were knocked out of the title race. India lost 4-5 (3-3) in sudden death to lower-ranked New Zealand despite maintaining the lead till the end of the third quarter. India lacked intensity in the fourth quarter and could not stop New Zealand from penetrating through their defence and scoring the equalizer.
In the penalty shootout as well, India failed to hold their nerves and managed to convert only four out of ten attempts. While some held the defendants accountable for the defeat, some blamed it on the forwards for not being able to convert the penalty corners. Meanwhile, coach Graham Reid put forth the demand for a mental conditioning coach saying India need to be strong mentally.
"We need to do something different perhaps. Following this, we will work on how we can get a mental coach involved. I think that is an important part for the future of the team," Reid said at the post-match conference.
"As far as the drills or training are concerned, we do what all other teams do. I have been in this game for a long time and I know what other teams are doing. If there is anything necessary, a silver bullet out there, I do think that (is) mentally."
Reid further said that the team now needs to go back to the drawing board and sort out the mistakes. "Tonight, we lacked consistency. In the last quarter, for example, we let ourselves down. We threw the ball away, kept doing stuff like that, Things like that made it very difficult for ourselves.
"Every team has at some stage had certain issues like converting circle penetration. We need to go back to the drawing board a little bit later," he said. "It is very hard to answer questions after such a loss. It is (lack of) skill execution at the end of the day, We need to work on that."