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The focus is to get intensity higher, says Chief Coach Marijne

Indian men’s hockey team’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne emphasised on speed and tactical training as the hosts had their first training session ahead of the Hockey World League Final, starting December 1.

Under the watchful eyes of the 43-year-old Dutchman, the squad members played 30-minute half-court match against each other.

The mega event will see top teams in the world battle for supremacy when defending Champions Australia will meet India in their first Pool B match on December 1 while England will take on Germany.

“Our first practice session went well. It is good to be at the Kalinga Stadium. While it is my first time here, for the players it is like home because all of them have played many Hockey India League Matches here. The pitch is fast so we like it, said Marijne after the 90-minute training session.

“The focus is to get the intensity higher and higher for our conditioning as we approach match day. Our preparations have been really good with the 18-day national camp in Bengaluru but there is scope to get our level higher ahead of the tournament. We play short matches among ourselves so we keep the guys in match momentum,” he added.

The next one-week Marijne wants to build the intensity during the training sessions.

The team also plays practice matches against Olympic Gold medalists Argentina on November 27 and England on November 28 respectively.

“For me the most important thing is performance. Rupinder and Biru (Birendra Lakra) who are making a comeback also get an extra match before going into our first game against Australia. While I am happy with how the players have done in training, playing matches is always good.

“It doesn’t matter that England are grouped with us. Playing practice match against any team is welcome and also both teams follow each other closely so there are not many secrets between each other, he remarked.

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