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Monday, Jan 17, 2022
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Aiming High

'Attacking Style Key To Success'

The Indian coach emphasises that for India to beat the Europeans, it must play it's own brand of hockey

'Attacking Style Key To Success'
'Attacking Style Key To Success'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

India has begun preparations for next year's Athens Olympics in right earnest and national coach Rajinder Singh believes that the Asian style of attacking hockey will be the key to success.

The Indian probables kicked off a month-long training camp in Bangalore for the double leg May 28 to June eight invitational hockey tournament, involving India, Pakistan, Australia, Australia A at Perth and Sydney.

"My main aim (at the camp) is to prepare and build a team for the Olympics qualifying and Olympics," Rajinder Singh, himself an Olympian, said in an interview.

He said senior players -- Mukesh Kumar, Baljeet Singh Dhillon, Baljit Singh Saini and Dhanraj Pillay -- had been called to the camp to see if they could carry on till after the Olympic Games next year. The qualifiers would be held in Madrid next March.

"They want to play more hockey and we have to give them a chance. If they are able to play for the nation, we should welcome them," he said of the seniors.

"I will observe them for 15 to 20 days. I would like them to play at least one international match to see how they perform and also observe their fitness level. (Their) selection would be purely based on performance and fitness level. Age will not be a consideration at all," Singh added.

Singh said the reverses suffered by India prior to his taking over as coach about a year ago could be primarily attributed to the team adopting a European style of 'mix' approach and giving up the attacking Asian 5-3-2-1 format.

"Earlier, we played a different style that did not suit Indian players," he said but emphasised that for India to beat European teams, who are good at penalty corner conversions, goal-keeping and hit-and-run, it must adopt an attacking style.

"That is the only way we can beat European teams. We cannot beat them by adopting the European style," the coach said.  "Now, we are adopting the Indian style. The boys are happy. This is the way they played hockey through the years."

Singh, who was the coach of the Indian junior team which won the World Cup, said he was adopting the same recipe for success at the senior level by focusing on short-corner conversions, defending, goal-keeping and improving the conversion rate of field goals.

"In the Junior World Cup, we were getting goals only from short-corner conversions," he said adding "we are putting in a lot of effort on our weaker areas like goal keeping and conversion rate".

Another area of concern for the coach is the mid-field, where he has only new players to depend on. It is this area that he would like to strengthen with seasoned campaigner Baljit Saini.

PTI

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