Hockey: Five gains from India's journey in Asia Cup

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Once regarded as the most popular sport of the country, hockey now is not even followed all across the border, thanks to India's dismal show in the recent years.A country, which has once produced the likes of Dhyan Chand, Leslie Claudius, Balbir Singh Sr. and ruled the world of hockey, is now struggling to even clinch a title in major tournaments.But all is not lost yet as India just seemed to have regrouped under the able leadership of Sardar Singh and is looking good to get a spot in the coming World Cup.Here is a look at the five gains India earned out of the Asia Cup:Coming together as a team: While hockey, over the years, has relied on individual brilliance in the forward line, one can’t deny the fact that it is a team sport which separates the good teams from the rest. India in the recently concluded Asia cup displayed tremendous team spirit with the whole team coming together in unison with one common goal in mind.Forward line packed the punch: Hockey, just like football, is about the number of goals a team can score and India did not disappoint in this aspect of the game. The forward line packed a punch which helped in converting the half chances into goals that will hold Indian hockey in good stead in the coming years.Goal-Keeping of top quality: To elevate PR Sreejesh as vice-captain of the Indian team did a world of good to his confidence and that showed in his game too where he saved India from conceding a goal in more than one occasion. Barring the match against South Korea in the final, Sreejesh showed tremendous temperament and ability in the field. The point would be vindicated once we take a look at his performance where he conceded only once in the group stage matches.Defenders coming off age: India, over the years, have always lacked a very good defender ever since Pargat Singh called it a day and to think that defenders like Raghu and Rupinder can fill his boots would be expecting too much too early in their careers. But there is a lot of potential and if they are groomed well the Indian defence should be in safe hands in the years to come.Fighting spirit: While India might have lost the gold to South Korea in the final of the Asia Cup, there are still a lot of positives that can be taken from the defeat. At times you tend to learn more when you lose than when you win.The manner in which the Indian team came back and took the game to the opposition after conceding two goals in the first half, speaks volumes of their self-belief and confidence. It was not to be this time but we can definitely reap a lot of benefits with this performance in the near future.More importantly, the team has given us hope and at times hope is bigger than the Pope.

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