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Indian women’s team feeling absence of drag-flicker in HWL


Antwerp (Belgium): Preparing to take on World Cup silver medallists Australia in a preliminary league match, the Indian women’s hockey team is feeling the absence of a good drag-flicker for penalty corners at the World League Semifinals.

India’s penalty corners lack the potential that drag flickers provide. The team is dependent on set-piece variations beside a powerful smash that seeks to find a leeway into the rival citadel.

A powerful drive got India one of their three goals against Poland, while a set-piece came close to India equalising in their 0-1 loss to hosts Belgium in the opening fixture. The set-piece attempt by captain Ritu Rani was scooped away from the goal-line by a diving defender.

“We don’t have a drag-flicker for penalty corners, but we have other skills to pose danger to the rival goal,” says coach Mathias Ahrens.

“Drag-flicks is a skills that takes time to improve, and I did notice a good drag-flicker in the training camp ahead of the tournament,” says Ahrens, who only took up the assignment with the team in May.

“There is one decent drag-flicker among the under-21 players, but it was too early for her skills to be pushed into top grade international hockey,” said Ahrens.

Ahrens says the present team can be more threatening to the rival goal on penalty corners than it is doing right now.

He wants the team to focus on set-piece variations and execute them better.

Ahrens is imploring his wards to use the opportunity of playing against higher-ranked opponents to raise the level of their own game.

“We’re here with seven under-21 players, for whom it is a good opportunity,” says the coach.

“We have to work on a lot more tactics.”

Australia go into the contest with India after suffering a 0-2 loss to New Zealand last night.

The World No. 2 ranked Australia will be eager to improve its goal-scoring ability ahead of the quarterfinals. This will make it tougher for the Indian defence.

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