NEW DELHI: Arch-rivals Pakistan and India are the best teams for hockey’s new nine-a-side format, the man behind the idea Ric Charlesworth said.
The nine-a-side version of hockey ensures a fast-paced game and will make its debut at the end of this month in debut with the LANCO International Super Series Perth, Australia.
Charlesworth, the coach of the Australian men’s hockey team said that fitness would play a major role but Pakistan and India will have a better chance in the upcoming four-nation tournament.
“These rules are made for India and Pakistan in my view. Most of us in Australia, love the way India and Pakistan traditionally play the game. We learnt most of our hockey from what we saw in the sub-continent,” Charlesworth said in a video message during the launch of the nine-a-side tournament on Tuesday.
The tournament will feature hosts Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand in the men's category, while India, Australia and Malaysia will fight it out in the women's section for top honours.
The Australian coach asserted that the nine-a-side format will revolutionise hockey and give the game a completely new dimension.
“Hockey has developed significantly in the past couple of years. The game has become much faster and fluent with more spaces opening up and more opportunity to attack and more goals,” he observed.
“Just as in the 70's when Kerry Packer revolutionised cricket and the game evolved, this (nine-a-side format) is an opportunity to experiment with the rules of hockey,” added former technical director of the Indian hockey team.
According to the new rules, a team will have nine players instead of eleven while substitutions will be unlimited and each half will be 15 minutes.
The goals will be a metre wider and in penalty shoot outs the striker will only have eight seconds to score.