Free Press Journal

Indian hockey team working on defence, penalty conversions


New Delhi: The Indian hockey team is working on its defence and penalty conversions besides trying to  get used to the surface, as it prepares for the upcoming World Cup starting at The Hague, Netherlands.

The team had a two-hour rigorous training session at the Klein Zwitserland Club.

“With just six days left for the World Cup, we started our training sessions yesterday and the focus was to get used to surface, defence in own 25 yards, decision making, goal scoring and attacking during penalty corners,” Roelant Oltmans, Director, High Performance, said after the session.

“The atmosphere in the group is good and everyone is fully focused. We all feel the competition is close now but we will stay relaxed and focus on the first match without the pressure getting on to us.”

Defender V R Raghunath felt the interaction with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has brought a positive change in the team.

“I think our meeting with Sachin Tendulkar has added the extra excitement in all of us. We all are feeling that change since we met him. I thank him for taking out time for us,” he said.

Raghunath said the weather in the host city is ideal for hosting the tournament.

“The weather is very good in The Hague and looks ideal for the World Cup. We all are excited for the World Cup to start and the team is shaping up very nicely in the last few practice sessions. We all are trying to relax and concentrate on the first game.

“We will go game by game in this tournament. We have worked a lot in improving our defence and penalty corner conversions in the past few training sessions and I am sure that we will deliver better results.”

India will play their first practice match against Argentina in Kyocera tomorrow.