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2009: 'Freehit trials’ for India as it takes on Ma (3/11/2009)
--K. Arumugam
Freehit trials’ for India as it takes on Malaysia today
K. Arumugam in Johar Bahru

While India takes on the hosts Malaysia in the second match of the inaugural day of the Genting Entertainment 4-Nation tournament in Johor Bahru, the focus will also be how they adjust to the recent freehit rule changes.

Straight hitting into the circle will be under the lens now than ever before. Also, fouls committed in the zone between the circle and the dotted lines by the attacking side will have to be handled in a different manner as well.

It is correct players in the attacking side need not short-pass the ball to his team mate before negotiating a freehit. Self start is permitted, but not before ensuring five yard utility. That is, the player cannot hit or pass the ball before playing for about five yards. Secondly, the ball needs to be taken to top of the dotted line for any fouls committed in the zone between the dotted lines and striking circle.

Tournament Director Madhavan Das showed the video clippings of European League -- where the changes were adopted -- for the benefit of the umpires and managers here.

However, Indian coach AK Bansal says they are aware of these changes, and tried out in the last camp at Bhopal.

Bansal also demonstrated the changes to the team at the Taman Raya stadium where they went for practice on Tuesday late evening. It was also the first practice for the boys at the new turf. On Monday too, the boys came to the stadium and watched the match between Malaysia and Pakistan. “We did not waste anytime on Monday when we arrived here, we came to the stadium to see how these two teams adopt to the new rules” said coach Bansal.

He also said that the team played a match between themselves to see, feel and adopt themselves to the rule changes with respect to freehit.

The team divided into nine of each, played a match where Innocent Kullu tried out penalty corners.

The Indian team:
Mrinal Chaubey & C.Santosh Kumar (Goalkeepers)
Diwakar Ram (Capt), Innocent Kullu & Sunil Yadav (Defenders)
Birender Lakra, Vikas Sharma, Belsajar Horo, Amardeep Ekka & Manjeet Kullu (Midfielders)
Mandip Antil, Jay Karan, Danish Mujtaba, Victo Singh, Mohd. Amir Khan, Pramod Kumar, Mohd. Asif Khan & Lalit Upadhyay (Forwards)

Officials :
A.K. Bansal (Chief Coach)
Clarence Lobo (Coach)
Shrikant Iyengar (Physiotherapist)
Harsha Vardhan Gandham (Umpire)
Anupam Ghulati (Manager)

Tournament Schedule
11 March
Pakistan v Singapore 17 hrs local time
India v Malaysia 19 hrs local time
12 March India v Singapore
Pakistan v Malaysia
13 March India v Pakistan
Malaysia v Singapore
14 March Rest Day
15 March 3rd - 4th Position Playoff

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