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India to resort to Euro style

Ranked 10th in the world and fourth in Asia, the women’s hockey team has a tough task at hand as it gears up for the six-team Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi, hoping to secure a place for the London Olympics.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2011 01:16 IST
Firoz Mirza

Ranked 10th in the world and fourth in Asia, the women’s hockey team has a tough task at hand as it gears up for the six-team Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi, hoping to secure a place for the London Olympics.

India played at the 1980 Moscow Games, when women’s hockey was introduced, and finished fourth. Since then, they’ve never managed to book a berth for the mega event.

A new-look core group, sans senior players like Mamta Kharab, Surinder Kaur and Deepika Murthy, is camping at the Central Regional Centre of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) here, preparing for international competition leading up to the qualifiers.

Young team
“Instead of focussing on opponents, we are identifying our strengths and weaknesses. Our emphasis is on youngsters who made it to the team. We are trying to bring in perfection to our approach,” said chief coach, CR Kumar.

He said the team would play the European style instead of sticking to the conventional Indian method. “Instead of relying on skills in the form of dodges and passes, we will try and adopt the power game. Hockey in the present form demands stamina and agility, and we will ensure that the ball reaches the opponents' half in lesser time and without going through a large number of players,” said Kumar.

The team will camp till the Olympic qualifiers with breaks of a week or 10 days in between. At present, 34 players are here but the doors are open for new talent if the selectors find them fit for the national squad.

Drag-flickers
Vandana Kataria may be assigned the role of a drag-flicker for the upcoming events. She, along with ace drag-flicker Jaspreet Kaur, will shoulder the important responsibility.

Kumar said special attention would be paid to bench strength. "We will try and have at least a couple of options for every position. The bench strength will reduce dependence on a particular player."

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