Pak tour: India need to regroup fast

India may have got off to a poor start but they need to draw positives from the 1-2 defeat against

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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India may have got off to a poor start but they need to draw positives from the 1-2 defeat against Pakistan in the opener at Karachi in order to keep their hopes alive of winning the four-match hockey series in this country. The depleted Indian side did well to take the lead early on before losing the match narrowly against an error-prone hosts on Friday. When India play Pakistan in the second Test here tomorrow, they must exploit the weaknesses of the formidable opponents to have any chance of squaring the series, which does not look improbable given the indifferent form the hosts showed in the first match. Pak scrappy The Pakistanis looked scrappy in their approach, although they did manage to hold onto the lead till the end to thwart India who came close to leveling the scores on a few occasions. India's chief coach Gerhard Rach also must be hoping that his side takes advantage of Pakistan's rustiness in tomorrow's game at the Gen Musa Stadium. "Pakistan's win was not surprising as we have young and inexperienced players. But I think we will show better performance in the coming matches," the German-born Rach said. Rach declined to read much into the opposition line-up but added he was confident of his side winning at least a couple of matches in the series. "I can't say anything (about the Pakistan team) at this stage. As far as our team is concerned, it underwent some major changes recently. But we are hopeful of winning a couple of games," Rach said. Forward-line worry Despite the loss, India must take heart from the showing of goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza, who was quite impressive under the bar, and rookie defender William Xalco besides skipper Dilip Tirkey. The trio played important roles in containing the Pakistani forwards and ace penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas, who scored from one set piece but was denied on three other occasions by the teenaged custodian. However, the performance of the inexperienced forward line must be the worrying factor for the Indian coach and captain after it failed to make much of an impact in the Karachi game. The forwards hardly tested the opposition defence in the first half. Although they fared slightly better in the second half creating a few moves, the attempt was not enough for an equaliser. But captain Tirkey was hoping that things would improve as the series progresses. "We got our chances which we missed, but we will try not to repeat the mistakes in the remaining matches," the 27-year-old defender said. "We have lots of new players who are trying to adjust into the team, but they will certainly take some time," he said. (PTI)