Hockey World League Final: Failure to convert penalty corners hurting India
India have been hurt by their failure to convert penalty corners at the ongoing Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswarother sports Updated: Dec 05, 2017 21:15 IST
India’s failure to convert penalty corners seems to have made a serious impact on the team’s performance at the ongoing Hockey World League Final here. Out of 13 opportunities so far, Manpreet Singh and Co have converted just two, including one on return.
After splitting points with world champions Australia in the opening game following a 1-1 draw, India lost to England 2-3 in the second game, before losing to Germany 0-2.
Interestingly, India didn’t try variations and seemed stuck to the traditional style of hitting, including the straighter one. In fact, they should learn from what Germany captain Martin Haner did against India on Monday. Martin hit the ball inside out, catching India’s custodian Akash Chikte unawares. Chikte dived to his left but was nowhere close to the ball.
Floris Jan Bovelander, a legendary drag-flicker, had advocated such variations in short corner attempts in an interview to Hindustan Times.
Sandeep Singh, one of India’s top drag-flick experts, said that if India raise their PC conversion to 35-40% in a match, no one can beat them. It is 15% in this tournament so far.
“We need to have variations and change our style according to the opposition defence. India are playing attacking hockey and creating chances on a regular basis, but lack of proper finishing is haunting the side,” said Sandeep on Tuesday.
The ace drag-flicker, who has scored 145 goals of his 185 goals through penalty corners, said the current team has plenty of penalty corner specialists --- Rupinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Varun Kumar. The team, however, has played only Rupinder and Harmanpreet, with the former scoring through the only PC converted so far.
India got four penalty corners in the game against Germany on Monday, and none of them could be converted. Rupinder shot straight to the chest of German keeper, whereas Harman’s hits were tackled by defenders alone. “This is the right platform and we can try as many as players as we have plenty of options,” said Sandeep.
He, however, hoped Indian drag-flick experts would do better in the knockout matches. “Let’s see, they may surprise everyone in the knockout matches with different style of hitting,” he said.