New Delhi: India’s men hockey team has leapfrogged fifth position ahead of the likes of Belgium, Argentina and New Zealand after Champions Trophy final saw controversy and high drama when the Indian hockey team lodged a protest during the penalty shootout before finally settling for historic silver after the jury announced that the 1-3 result against Australia.
India now has 1689 points at the conclusion of the Champions Trophy, 56 points ahead of sixth-placed Belgium (1633) and just eight away from Great Britain (1697) on fourth.
India was previously ranked fifth in 2004 but since then it has been a downward slide.
This is the first time in more than a decade that India hockey team made has made it to the top five in world rankings since the International Hockey Federation (FIH) started the system in 2003.
Team India also created history as it was the first time that they played in the final of the Champions Trophy against Australia (in London).
With their performance over the last six months at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament (in Malaysia where they reached the final and then lost to Australia) and in the Champions Trophy they have shown they are on the right track for Rio.
After the gutsy Indians held World champions Australia goalless in 60 minutes of regulation period, both teams headed for the penalty shootout to decide the eventual winners.
The shootout turned out to be controversial with India protesting against an infringement when Australia's Daniel Beale's attempt was allowed to go on for more than the stipulated 14 seconds. The score then was 1-0 in favour of Australia.
The tournament jury seemed to be in a fix when India filed an appeal against the video umpire's decision to re-take the second attempt in the shootout.
It took the jury multiple replays to find a way out of the embarrassing situation that kept the result pending.
After an hour and a half of the match's conclusion, the jury eventually discovered that the ball had rolled under Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh's pad for a couple of seconds.
The jury then cited this as the reason why the shootout was re-taken and declared the Kookaburas as the gold medallists.
Earlier, after the 60 minutes of regulation play remained goalless, Australian goalkeeper Tyler Lovell denied S.K. Uthappa, S.V. Sunil and Surender Kumar in the penalty shootout to drive Australia to their 14th Champions Trophy title -- the most by any side.
Harmanpreet Singh was the only scorer for India, while Aran Zalewski, Daniel Beale, Simon Orchard succeeded for Australia. Sreejesh could only deny Trent Mitton.
However, it was India's best performance in the history of the tournament. India's previous best performance at the Champions Trophy was a bronze medal in 1982.