PR Sreejesh: The Kerala boy, who got married recently, was outstanding throughout the tournament. Manning a defence which consistently wilts under pressure, is never easy and Sreejesh deserves all the credit. The manner in which he kept Spain at bay in the second half, nullifying as many as five short corner efforts besides other routine saves, just shows why he is such a vital cog in the team's wheel.
PT Rao: The reverse goalkeeper kept warming the bench as the first-choice Sreejesh was in rollicking form. Rao, who had a great 34th Champions Trophy when Sreejesh was out with a hamstring injury, will have to wait for his opportunity.
Sardar Singh: He shouldered the midfield responsibility admirably, but lacked support from the other medios, which to some extent diluted his utility in that position. The world hockey knows him as one of the one of the best centre-halfs around, but questions will asked about his ability to come out all guns blazing against top teams like Australia and Netherlands, especially when the chips are down.
Vokkaliga Raghunath: The Indian vice-captain plumbed the lows in the initial stages of the tournament after his phenomenal defending skills in the 34th Champions Trophy in Melbourne last year. He was not in the starting line-up in a few matches and one is not sure whether it was a tactical move by Nobbs. The burly fullback subsequently did pull up his socks and was superb in the play-off games against France and Spain. He did not regularly get penalty corner opportunities but made it count when he got them, scoring twice in the tournament.
Rupinder Pal Singh: He was a pale shadow of the fullback he was at the 34th Champions Trophy and 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He kept committing repeated blunders inside the Indian ‘D’ either getting dispossessed or conceding penalty corners. However, he was pretty good with his short corners, twice slamming home in the tight game against Ireland, including a face-saving goal for India to avoid an ignominious defeat.
Harbir Singh: The Uttar Pradesh Wizards defender got limited opportunities to show his wares, but when he was on the pitch looked assured in defence. He needs to work on his temperament – needlessly he earned the wrath of the umpire during the quarterfinal against Australia in an off-the-ball incident and was suspended for the game against France.
Sandeep Singh: The comeback story of the Haryana DSP was a tad disappointing. Sandeep mostly played in an overlapping position and spent less time guarding the Indian citadel. He failed to register a single penalty corner goal in the tournament, though he looked like scoring one against France, it was disallowed by the third umpire following a video referral. His lone bright spark is the goal-creating cross for Mandeep Singh in the game against Spain.
Birendra Lakra: A big disappointment for India. The talented midfielder looked out of sorts in defence and sprayed a lot of mispasses besides getting repeatedly dispossessed. Considered a key player of the side, he was rested for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup but he will be dejected with his showing in Rotterdam.
Manpreet Singh: He has been one of the most improved players in recent times. The midfielder not only rushes forward with conviction but also throws himself around as if his life is depended on it. He is also a key figure during penalty corner situations in the Indian ‘D’ – his goal-line save against France is a striking example of that.
Kothajit Singh: The Manipuri lad had a quiet tournament. He did not have extended stints on the pitch for reasons best known to Nobbs. He scored a crucial third goal against New Zealand but beyond that he had little else to show for.
Gurmail Singh: His inexperience came to the fore. Gurmail was regularly guilty of faulty clearances in defence. His mid-field play left a lot to be desired. The nerves of the big stage might have got to him. Even when he was rushing forward, he seemed to be running out of ideas.
Dharamvir Singh: The big man also had a disappointing tournament. He was not at his incisive best during the tournament and his ten minute suspension against Australia at the start of the game for arguing with the umpire was a dampener. Of course, he set up Sardar Singh for his goal against France, and later Mandeep Singh against Spain but overall a big let-down for India.
Nithin Thimmaiah: The gangling forward may not have found his name on the scoresheet but he oozed a lot of promise for the future. The fact that he got extended playing time indicates the faith Nobbs reposes in him. He looked good upfront without being devastatingly effective.
SV Sunil: He was rested for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the break seemed to have done a world of good to him. Sunil’s attacking moves had more purpose than before. Often considered wayward, his aimless pacy runs were a thing of the past as he used his burst of speed judiciously to deliver a telling impact on his opponents.
Akashdeep Singh: The youngster may be roundly criticized for his penalty shoot-out gaffe against Spain, but he had a decent time upfront. He showed his talent with a fine reverse hit opening goal against Ireland before coming out with a crucial equalizer against France when pressure was on India to get back on level terms.
Chinglensana Singh: He impressed with his positive energy and can be groomed for the future. The Manipuri lad dished out his goal-poaching skills when he dispossessed Kiel Brown when he was trying to make a routine clearance and sounded the board. He brilliantly set up a nice move paving the way for Sunil to score his first and only goal of the tournament against France.
Shivendra Singh: His comeback tale seems complete. The experienced forward showed what he brings to the side when he scored a fine deflection goal against Ireland before coming up with a similar effort against Spain. The Air India striker appears to have done his bit to retain his place in the side.
Mandeep Singh: He may not have played for an extended period but he invariably made his presence felt on the pitch. The Ranchi Rhinos striker produced the crucial second half equalizer against New Zealand before coming up with a two-goal blitz in the second half against France, not to speak of his goal against Spain. He has been easily the biggest find of HLW.
Picture: Courtesy: Sportskeeda