MUMBAI: When the list of hockey probables for the Olympics was announced, it was India’s defence that appeared the shakiest. But now, another problem which has racked the nation for years – the forward line’s poor record of converting chances in the circle – has begun to haunt the team.
“We have to work a lot on our attack. Defenders worldwide have become very compact and getting short corners has become equally difficult,” chief coach Michael Nobbs said on arrival from Ipoh, Malaysia, where India finished with a bronze medal.
“The role of the forwards is not just to earn us short corners, they also have to penetrate inside the D and get into scoring positions.
But our forwards are still not as sharp. During our match against Argentina, we had 44 circle penetrations but the boys just couldn’t deliver the final blow. At the Olympics, we are going to play against top teams and if we don’t make the most of these chances, we are in trouble,” Nobbs said.
Nobbs said India’s defence had shaped up to his expectations and admitted that the forwards have to pull their socks up.
He also rued the fact that in the build-up to the London Games, India have not managed to play substantial games against top teams like The Netherlands, Australia and Germany.
“We are a touch short on match practice against the really tough teams. Ideally, I would have liked to play against Germany, Holland and Australia a fair bit more. If we are hoping to be a top team in the world then we definitely need to play a lot more against the best teams,” Nobbs stressed.