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Hockey World Cup 2018: Problem areas of Indian hockey team ahead of World Cup

Though the Champions Trophy was a huge success for India as Harendra’s side achieved their best finish in the final edition of the prestigious tournament, their success rate on shots at goal and circle penetration was nothing great.

other sports Updated: Nov 27, 2018 19:56 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Mumbai
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File picture of India's Harmanpreet Singh (L) and Manpreet Singh (R) (AFP)

As they get ready for their opening encounter in the World Cup against South Africa, here is a set of numbers that point to one of the main problem areas that India will have to iron out if it has to go all the way in the competition.

India will have to improve drastically on their conversion rate — both in field goals and penalty corners. Their success rate was modest in the 2018 Champions Trophy in Breda and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Ranked fifth in the world, India are one of the favourites besides defending champions Australia, Rio Olympics winner Argentina and European giants Netherlands and Germany.

At the Champions Trophy, where India finished runner-up behind Australia, losing to the reigning world champions in tie-break shoot out after a 1-1 stalemate in regulation time, Harendra Singh’s team made it to the shooting circle on 96 occasions in six matches. Of these, they could take an attempt at the goal only on 58 instances – a 60.41% success on circle penetrations. However, India managed to score only 11 goals in Breda — which is a modest 18.96% for the number of shots they attempted in those matches.

Though the Champions Trophy was a huge success for India as Harendra’s side achieved their best finish in the final edition of the prestigious tournament, their success rate on shots at goal and circle penetration was nothing great.

In comparison, Australia had a better conversion rate on their attacks as they scored 14 goals in the 69 shots at goal they attempted in six matches --- a success rate of 20.28%. Australia scored 10 field goals and three off penalty corners and one penalty stroke. But then the Australian team at the Champions Trophy looked a little off form and thus India lost a great chance of upstaging them.

Their struggle could be gauged from the fact that Australia, when playing at home in the CWG in Gold Coast, had a success rate of 25.97 --- which means they scored a goal off every fourth shot they took. At Gold Coast, Australia scored 20 goals off the 77 shots they attempted at goal.

In comparison, India had a success rate of only 14.42% on attempts at goal as they could manage only 15 goals in 104 shots they took at the goal in six matches.

POOR PC CONVERSION RATE

The success rate was also modest on penalty corner conversion too despite having some of the most talented players in their lineup. In the Champions Trophy, India had a conversion rate of 14.28% as they managed to score only four goals off the 28 PCs they earned. Australia’s rate was marginally better at 18.51% but then the current Kookaburras don’t have a great penalty corner specialist as compared to some of their previous sides.

These numbers showcase the extent of problems that India face in the attacking third --- the forwards do manage to get into the shooting circle and in a position to create an attack at the goals but they fail to capitalise on these chances on a lot of occasions.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 19:45 IST