Indian team prepares for Azlan Shah Cup

Updated: 13 April 2007 14:53 IST

The Indian hockey team is being put through the paces at a camp in Bangalore ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup and the Beijing Olympic qualifier matches.

Indian team prepares for Azlan Shah Cup

Bangalore:

Struggling to maintain their eighth position in the world, the Indian hockey team is being put through the paces at a camp in Bangalore ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup and the Beijing Olympic qualifier matches.

In the last Hockey World Cup, penalty corner conversions were the main problem with the Indian team and they lost a lot of goal scoring opportunities because of this weakness.

That is why new coach Joaquim Carvalho is working hard with the team to rectify this.

"We need the seniors to carry the juniors, and we need the juniors to support the seniors as far as fitness and skills are concerned. It's going to be a mixture of youth and experience," said Carvalho.

Similar to cricket, the management of Indian hockey is looking at a combination of youth and experience. However, the lack of astro turf courts at the grass root level is a major problem, and even players admit it.

"Previously we had natural grass court, now hockey is played on asto turf where we are not clicking at all," said Bharat Chetre,. member of the Indian Hockey Team..

Another player Vikram Kant added, "We get the opportunity to play on astro turf only at national level. If we are provided astro turf at grass root level, this will help a lot."

The estimated cost of a standard astro turf ground is Rs 1.5 crore. It is now in the hands of the Sports Ministry to provide such astro turf grounds at all the major hockey playing centres, if Indian Hockey is to have any hope of regaining its past glory.

Topics : Hockey
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