India’s ace drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh on Tuesday said the team is eager to defend their title at the upcoming 18th Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang. Also Read - Chinese Rocket Re-Enters Earth, Debris Lands in Indian Ocean West Of Maldives

Rupinder said the team will further work on specific areas to ensure they have left no stone unturned in their preparations for the Asian Games. Also Read - Long March 5B, Chinese Rocket Debris Likely To Hit Earth In Next 24 Hours

“The one-week break will help us rejuvenate as some of us have been in the National Camp continuously since April 28. When we return to camp, the team will sit together, watch videos from our matches against New Zealand and try and find out ways to improve further. We are eager to defend the Gold Medal at Asian Games in Jakarta,” Rupinder said. Also Read - Indian Players to Travel With Families to England on June 2, Will do Hard Quarantine in India

“Personally for me, playing against a quality team like New Zealand who won the Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games was very important.

“Since I had missed out all the action during the FIH Champions Trophy, I had to find my rhythm ahead of the Asiad,” he added.

At the Asian Games, India are grouped in Pool A with Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Hong Kong China.

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April was Rupinder Pal Singh’s last appearance for the Indian Team at a major International event.

A hamstring injury during the quadrennial event meant that he had to be rested for the FIH Champions Trophy in Breda where the team won a Silver Medal.

While the team was vying against top teams in the world, Rupinder had to remain in the National Camp and work on his fitness.

“It is frustrating for any player to be watching the team play on TV but it was critical for me to undergo rehab in order to be match-fit and available for the Asian Games selections,” Rupinder said.

In order to gain his momentum again, Rupinder appeared in four practice matches against Bangladesh early this month where he scored 10 goals through penalty corners and played two practice matches against South Korea where he scored one goal from penalty corners.

“I think having Bangladesh, South Korea and New Zealand visit us for matches ahead of major tournaments this season was a blessing in disguise. During these matches, the team tried out different combinations and tested different variations in converting PC,” he said.

“We also tried new methods of creating PCs where I think the team did well. Our main criteria was to improve goal scoring,” stated the six-footer from Punjab.

After the successful Series against New Zealand over the weekend in Bengaluru, the Asian Games-bound team have returned home for a week-long break and will re-join the national camp on August 1.

(With Inputs From IANS)