We are putting extra hours on defending penalty corners, says Sreejesh

Antwerp (Belgium), June 18 (IANS) Ahead of their Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final, India men’s team goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh on Thursday said they are putting in extra hours in practice organising the defence for penalty corners which he believes can make or break a game.

“In a fast-paced game and with the new rules, penalty corners have become goal-scoring opportunities. Everything happens in a fraction of a second and one bad reaction in the penalty corner can take the match away from you,” Sreejesh said in a release.

“Goalkeepers need to be very attentive and quick to anticipate the shots. We are improving ourselves in this area and our coaching staff is working extra-hours on penalty corners,” the team vice-captain added.

HWL Semi-final, an Olympic qualifying tournament, offers Olympic berths for top three performers. India, though, have already secured their place in the Olympics by winning the 2014 Asian Games gold medal.

The tournament will feature 10 teams divided in two pools. India are placed in Pool A with France, Poland, Pakistan and Australia while China, Ireland, Malaysia, Britain and Belgium are in Pool B.

India will play their first match against France on June 20 before taking on others.

The 27-year-old Keralite added that he is working on improving his agility and anticipation and also hopes their hard practice will bear fruit in the upcoming games.

“Chief coach Paul van Ass stresses on the improvement in penalty corners and we are trying out new strategies to restrict goals.

“Being a key member of the strategies, I am also working on my agility and anticipation skills. I am happy with our progress in this area and very hopeful that our team will defend goals during penalty corners,” he said.

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