We attack and defend with all 11: Oltmans

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Newly-appointed Indian hockey chief coach Roelant Oltmans on Thursday said his team will defend as well as attack with all 11 players in their upcoming European tour.

India will play twice against France (August 3, 5) before taking on Spain (August 10, 12, 13) in the tour to prepare for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final to be held in India in November-December.

“During our practice at Shilaroo, we have been working on our attack as well as defence and in the process inculcating in us the attitude to win.

“Defending we do with 11 players and attacking we do with 11 players. Each and every one has a role and they are aware of it,” said Oltmans, who also doubles up as the Hockey India (HI) high performance director.

The team was lately in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, taking part in a fitness camp.

“When we are attacking and we are in the final quarter of the pitch, then our defenders should not stay close to our D. Rather they have to push up and be in a position so that if we lose possession then we have to immediately regain possession,” said the Dutchman.

“If our defenders are far back then that leaves a gap in the midfield and in case opponents get possession then that immediately puts pressure on the goalkeeper. So we have to keep our structure in place with our roles specified and this helps get the best out of the team.”

The 61-year-old added: “I always divide the game in two parts — possession and non possession — and this depends on the skills as well as our cohesion on the field.

“With possession we have to ensure that it results in creating scoring opportunities and even capitalising on them. In non possession we have to work on how well to defend, how do we push the attack back and look at getting the possession back.”

India skipper Sardar Singh said his boys are gung-ho travelling to Europe.

“During our training, we enhanced our fitness levels. The team is confident and looking forward to the tour. We have around 35 international games before Rio Olympics and we want to make the most of them.

“Our first match is against France and they have been playing brilliant hockey in the recent years. They will be a challenge for us. We are confident of doing well against France and Spain,” said Sardar.


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