Tue, 24 Jul 2012 22:00:05 GMT | By PTI

Will focus on penalty corners: Michael Nobbs

London: The Indian hockey team is working extra time to fine-tune the penalty corner drills ahead of the London Olympics as chief coach Michael Nobbs feels the fate of the competition will be decided by which team fires in more short corners.

Will focus on penalty corners: Michael Nobbs

"Forget the hockey, the Olympics competition here will be decided by penalty corners," said Nobbs, aware that in Sandeep Singh he possesses a potent weapon in executing penalty corners.

"The game here will be who gets in how many penalty corners, and we obviously want to join the goal fest," the Australian told PTI.

Nobbs said the current Indian team's penalty corner conversion rate was normally over 50 per cent, but he is keen to improve that further.

He said penalty corner specialists Sandeep and V R Raghunath were both capable of putting the ball through the best of rivals defences.

"Our general game plan is looking good. Raghunath's good form is allowing us to rotate him with Sandeep and make sure one of them is on the pitch at any given time," said Nobbs.

He said this would enable Sandeep to get some time off the pitch and keep him energised for the entire duration of the tournament.

Sandeep's penalty corner conversion spree in the Olympic qualifying competition in New Delhi saw India post a runway victory over France to secure passage to the London Olympics.

This marked India's return to the Olympics after missing out on the 2008 Games in Beijing.

India's absence from the Beijing Games was a big disappointment for the followers of the national sport in which the dazzling stickwork of yesteryears fetched the country six successive Olympic gold medals from 1928 to 1956.

After losing in the final of 1960, India reclaimed the gold in 1964, but had to wait for 16 years until winning it again in the boycott-hit Moscow Olympics of 1980.