Must improve penalty corner conversion: Hockey skipper Sardar

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Praising his teammates for a creditable performance during their recent European tour, Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh said on Saturday that the players need to improve their penalty corner conversion before the FIH World League Final later in the year.

The Indians had started their European sojourn with back to back victories over France
before defeating Spain 2-1 in a three-match series.

The only blip in an otherwise successful tour was a 1-4 defeat in the first match against Spain. But to their credit, the Indians make a strong comeback by emphatically winning the next two matches.

However, the old achilles heel of poor penalty corner conversion continues to dog the Indians as they managed to score only five goals from short corners in the five matches.

“We are in high spirits after the win in the European Tour and have come back with many learnings along with the weaknesses that needs to be worked upon. I think we need to work on converting scoring opportunities through penalty corners and which will be our emphasis before the FIH World League Final later in the year,” Sardar said after arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.

“The young players played exceptionally well and which is gradually adding to our strengths as we have a bigger pool of players to choose from before each tournament.”

High performance director and chief coach Roelant Oltmans however, preferred to focus more on the positives.

“The team performed exceptionally well in the European Tour which proves that our players are ready to take on greater challenges,” the Dutchman said.

“The highlight was that we did not give away the ball possession easily to the opponents and with the FIH Hockey World League Final scheduled to take place towards the end of this year, I hope the team does its best and displays high level performances.”

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