Hockey Perspectives

Time for Indian Midfielder Navjot Kaur to Raise the Performance Bar!

The Indian women’s hockey team have been making rapid strides ever since finishing a creditable fourth at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The hockey eves’ third-place finish in the 2021-2022 FIH Pro League is an adequate indication that their Olympic performance was no flash in the pan. Having said that, one can’t lose sight of the improvement areas the team need to focus on. One player that stokes curiosity with her form and lack of game-time is Navjot Kaur. At 27, with close to 200 internationals under her belt, Navjot is one of the senior players around but there is a line of thought that she hasn’t been able to do justice to her presence in the side.

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The midfielder’s contribution to the side has come under the scanner. She had a quiet 2021 Tokyo Olympics campaign and all of that got unnoticed because the team reached the semifinals and finished fourth. Clearly, Navjot who made her senior international debut in a tournament in New Zealand in 2012, needs to do much more to vindicate her presence in the side. Interestingly, she spends most of the time in the dugout and her limited game time throws more questions that need to be answered.

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The experienced midfielder would know that no player can take her place for granted. More so because there is fierce competition in the midfield department. Vastly experienced Sushila Chanu is doing a good job in the midfield and with talented Salima Tete towering over the midfield alongside Neha Goyal and Monica Malik and new entrants Sonika and Jyoti also rising to the occasion, Navjot would be aware that she needs to up her game to prolong her international career.

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A two-time Olympian, one-time World-Cupper and two-time Asiad player, coach Janneke Schopan would hope for more meaningful contributions from Navjot. For now she is either not getting enough game-time and when on the pitch, she hasn’t been able to deliver a telling impact. In modern hockey, every player would be exposed if they are underperforming. One hopes that Navjot would raise the improvement bar and come up with flying colours at the 2022 World Cup.