India vice-captain Hardik Singh has asserted that penalty corners remain its strength and his team would look to execute it to the fullest during the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy 2023 here.
India’s opening game on Thursday against China saw the host winning 7-2, with six of the goals resulting through the corner.
“Penalty corner happens to be our strength. And, whatever our strength is, we will try to use it and execute it to the fullest during the matches. Also, we are delighted with how we are scoring the field goals,” Hardik told PTI after the victory.
“We have to convert our penalty corners successfully and aim at having at least two or three goals through the corner, besides creating the same amount of chances in every quarter.”
India was playing its first contest on the newly-laid turf at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium, and Hardik gave a positive review about it and the venue overall.
“The turf is extremely good. Kudos to the Tamil Nadu government for doing a great job with it as well as the venue. Feels cheerful for the entire team to be playing here.”
The host takes on Japan on Friday, and Hardik said India would look to get off to a vibrant start.
“There is no low-ranked team for us. Every team is the same for us, and our only strategy is to start the game on a positive note against any side,” he said. “They (Japan) generally play half-court, so they are good at man-to-man marking. Also, they have a good defence inside the box. Meanwhile, the short corner happens to be our strength. So, we will intend on utilising it to the fullest, besides playing our normal game.” We did well to rotate everyone.
Head coach Craig Fulton was delighted at India’s convincing start to the tournament.
On being asked about the pep-talk he gave to the side after going up 6-2 in the first half, Fulton said, “After the first half, it was more about our game, trying to get the tempo up.
“I think we have been here (in India) now for three days. So, in the coming days, we will start to come into our own. So, it is a bit of a struggle. But I think we did well to rotate everyone as much as we did.” About the new turf, Fulton said, “It’s a new pitch. We trained on it yesterday. The turf will just get better and better. Obviously, it needs a bit of time, but I like the pitch.” Fulton said his side needs to be clinical against Japan and backed his boys to brace the challenge against the side.
“Just being clinical. I think if you give them a few too many opportunities, they will take it. They will score a penalty corner and have got good first-wave runners. So, it’s going to be a nice challenge and looking forward to it.”
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