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The Walsh effect: Counter-attacks to replace all-out play

One-touch hockey and counter-attacks are two key areas where the hockey team will be focussing.

Written by Mihir Vasavda | Mumbai |
October 23, 2013 3:45:34 am

One-touch hockey and counter-attacks are two key areas where the Indian hockey team will be focussing on as they embark on a fresh journey under new coach Terry Walsh.

The Australian,appointed the chief coach last month,took charge of the national camp in New Delhi on Monday and held the first team meeting the following day. And he seems to have made an instant impression on his wards.

“First impressions are good,naturally. I think it will be a terrific pair – Walsh and (high performance director Roelant) Oltmans together. We know Oltmans has an overall responsibility but the two of them have spent time in Holland together and are aware of the Dutch philosophy,which will be beneficial to us,” forward SV Sunil said.

Sunil,talking on the sidelines of Bombay Gold Cup here,said under the new coach,the team will be relying more on a counter-attacking hockey instead of going all-out.

“It is practically not possible for us to dribble our way through the opposition from one end of the pitch to others. The coach has stressed on the need to play one-touch hockey and quick inter-play. He said we should be aiming to reach the opposition ‘D’ as quickly as possible,using one-touch hockey. Once inside the 25-yard circle,we should dribble past the opponents,” Sunil said.

Walsh takes over a team that had an average run under his predecessor and compatriot Michael Nobbs. While India played flamboyant,free-flowing hockey under Nobbs,the team was found wanting against top nations and consistently leaked goals. Oltmans,who was the interim coach after Nobbs parted ways in July,has focussed on tightening the defence while not compromising on the attacking flair.

Walsh,Sunil said,will be taking forward Oltmans’s philosophy. “After Oltmans took charge,we have started to pay equal attention on defence. That doesn’t mean we will play defensive hockey. But it’s more about balancing the two and also relying a lot more on counter-attacks.”

Sunil suffered an elbow injury during the camp at the Bangalore SAI Centre and consequently missed last month’s Asia Cup,where India finished runners-up. He was back in action,playing for Indian Oil in the Bombay Gold Cup,after being out injured for close to two months.

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