2018 Asian Games: Indian Basketball team – Tourists in Jakarta or capable of more?

Can Indian Eves get past Korea, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan to make it into the knockout stages?

With Korea, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan also in Group A, the Indian Basketball team will need to overcome adversity if they’re to become a surprise package in Jakarta.

In the run-up to the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Fisto Sports take a look at Indian Basketball team’s credentials.

Background

Approaching their third Asian Games, with men’s team being absent, the women’s team have high expectations to reach the knockout phase for the first time in history.

Both Indian senior women’s and U17 team basketball won FIBA Asia Cup Division B title last year.

Waltzing through their mediocre qualifying group, the real acid test will come in Jakarta for Shiba Maggon side in facing the favourites for the tournament – Korea.

Story so far

India’s best result at the Asian Games is the 4th place finish in 1951, they were hosts that year but that was men’s team.

The women’s team record also has been poor. They lost all matches in 2006 (first appearance for women’s team), 2010, and won one in 2014. It is not easy this time either, with Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Kazakhstan and hosts Indonesia in India’s group A.

Squad

Jeena PS (Captain)

Stephy Nixon

Anjana PG

Bhandhavya HM

RajaPriyadarshini

Madhu Kumari

Sangeetha Kaur

Shireen Limayae

Pushpa Senthil Kumar

Raspreeth Sidhu

Nishi Sharma

Coach: Shiba Maggon

Draws for Women’s Basketball for Asian Games 2018

 

 

Group stage

There’s no getting away from it. India have been placed in, arguably, the tournament’s most lopsided group A. India will have to try and surpass the group stage against some tough opponents coming in the form of Korea, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan. They will also fully know the difficulty of their group.

But they still have a chance of reaching the quarters, since four of the five teams in the group will make it to the next round.

What to expect

The lack of physicality, speed and agility has been the missing case of Indian women in basketball that seen struggle against top Asian teams. However, the team will aim to overcome that struggle as they have been training against men’s team to help them prepare better under the coach Shiba Maggon in Bengaluru for a couple of months.

The recently concluded William Jones Cup tournament also would have helped them gain some confidence and fine-tune in their game plan, there’s still time for India to find an upward trajectory to carry them into the tournament.

How far will they go?

It’s been a cursed run, but India will get an opportunity to turn around their fortunes this time around. To better the previous results,  India simply have to beat Indonesia, but to do so Shiba Maggon needs to keep Jeena PS under wraps. The Keralite is in good form, with Indonesia boosting home crowd advantage likely to cause another attack-heavy formation some severe headaches.

Korea are clear favourites to finish top but second place appears up for grabs. And India will be confident of competing against both Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan.

The result of the opening game is likely to be crucial. A win would put India in a strong position ahead of their meeting with Kazakhstan.

It might be a different story in ten years time but, for now, with India fielding a formidable squad around Jenna PS, then they are more than capable of ousting at least one of Indonesia and Kazakstan. Still, think, third place in the group feels like the most realistic aspiration.

However, if they do make it into the knock-out round a meeting with either Japan or China is likely to be waiting for them which could prove too high an obstacle to overcome.

 

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Source: Matchday Frolics
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