Pakistanis all for experimental rules

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistan are in favour of the experimental rules that will be used in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, which will be played in Ipoh from March 22-30. 

The rules allow only eight players in the defensive 25-yard area and the errant team will concede a penalty corner. Players who continually breach the rules could be cautioned, warned or suspended. 

The tournament features six teams – Malaysia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Germany and South Korea. And if the International Hockey Federation (FIH) get feedbacks that the rules benefit the game, they may go on mandatory trial in all tournaments next year. 

Pakistan coach Shahnaz Sheikh said that he believed that the rules would be good for the game. 

“I'm in favour for it. I think we will see more field goals,” he said. “We have seen many times in recent past teams having all 11 players defending their goal. These teams rely on counter attacks as their only attacking strategy. 

“We need find ways to ensure that the game is played out in the rest of the pitch and not just confined to the D.” 

But Malaysian coach Paul Lissek does not think that the new rules will benefit the game.  

“It will cause the teams a lot of problem and I think we will see a lot of confusion in the matches. We are trying it out in training and I hope the players will understand it. I think we are not making progress here,” said Lissek. 

Earlier this year, the FIH introduced new rules on penalty corners for mandatory trial in all tournaments. 

Here defending players can stop the ball with the stick above the shoulders just like the goalkeeper. The ball is also not required to be stopped dead before a shot is taken. 

The rules applied in the recent Under-19 international invitational tournament here. The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) also applied them in domestic meets, beginning with the national Under-21 meet and also in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League. 

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