Fast and furious is how hockey guru Ric Charlesworth has visualised the future of the game. To meet the growing competition from other games, the former great from Australia has conceptualised Hockey 9s, which will form the platform for a new concept aimed at popularising the game.
The LANCO International Super Series Hockey 9s will be held at Perth from October 20 to 23. India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia will compete in the men's section. The women's competition will comprise India, Malaysia and Australia.
The tournament will be played in a new format. It will be a nine-a-side affair with wider goals and some more changes. The goals will be one metre wide and each half would be of 15 minutes. One player from each team will remain in the forward half at all times. The penalty corners will have four attackers facing three defenders, including the goalkeeper.
Showcasing the skills
The promoters of this concept argue that fewer players will mean more space for the competitors to show their skills. It will also increase the demands of fitness since the players will be working harder.
Speaking at the function of unveiling a replica of the trophy, Jasjit Kaur, vice-captain of the Indian women's team, said, “It is a very fast game and we are still getting used to the style and the rules. I'm sure we'll enjoy the tournament. The idea is to entertain the spectators.”
Coach C.R. Kumar said it was a good concept and sure to catch up with the spectators. “The pace and the fact that there will be more goals can be exciting to watch. It will be tough no doubt because it will require a lot of energy.”
Australian High Commissioner Peter Verghese hoped the concept would achieve its goal of bringing India and Australia closer. The Indian men and women's teams arrive in Perth on Wednesday.