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New scoring rules in the 2016 HIL evokes mixed reactions from the players

637   //    14 Jan 2016, 20:28 IST
VR Raghunath
VR Raghunath believes drag-flickers would not be under as much pressure as the forwards

The path-breaking rule changes in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) starting on Monday drew mixed reactions as to whether they will make the game more tactical or will force the players to be ultra defensive.

The most important rule change is that a field goal will be counted as two to encourage skillful hockey. And to curb rough tackles, two goals will be awarded for every goal scored from a penalty stroke resulting from a penalty corner where a goal being scored is prevented by a deliberate foul.

However for the rest – penalty corners, strokes and shoot-outs – the traditional solitary goal will be awarded for conversions. The new goal-scoring system has been approved by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Competitions and Rules Committee.

Uttar Pradesh Wizards captain, VR Raghunath said that penalty corner experts would be under lesser pressure, courtesy the revolutionary scoring patterns. The sturdy drag-flicker said, "It's a big challenge for the forwards and an opportunity for the forwards to score more goals and show their skills. There will be less pressure on drag-flickers and more pressure on forwards.”

He added, "The first week of the season is going to play a critical role in deciding the way forward for all the teams. Our aim would be to score as many points as we can and the rule changes only add to the excitement of the league."

Meanwhile, Ranchi Rays skipper Ashley Jackson felt that the rules are exciting and the role of drag-flickers will not change immensely. He believed, "It will be interesting to see how the first week of the competition pans out and then only we can say on the impact of these rules on the games. In one way, teams can be very aggressive. But, depending on the situations, teams can put more emphasis on the defensive structure. Or may be both of these points can happen at the same time.”

The Englishman also asserted, "So I am excited and eager to see how the rules impact the games. The rules will certainly impact the results of the matches and the score lines. The forwards will enjoy playing with the new rules in play but in that process they may end up earning more number of penalty corners and and the drag-flickers can't afford to miss out on them as always. I can only surely say that the numbers of goals will rise.”

Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ spearhead Sardar Singh reminded that the rules are the same for every team and no side will be at an advantage. The Indian leader evinced, "The rule is same for all. It is an interesting thought and all teams will try to score more field goals this year.”

Kalinga Lancers’ Moritz Furste who captained the now defunct Ranchi Rhinos to the title in 2013, enthused, “I missed the last season and hence I was very keen to be a part of this year's Coal India Hockey India League. This is a perfect beginning to the Olympic year as we get to play against the best players and an amazing crowd which adds to our excitement and performance.”

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