Silver medal will boost India’s men’s hockey teamOctober 15th, 2010 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS
By Anand Philar
New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) A “dirtied” silver medal, was how coach Jose Brasa described India’s second place finish in the men’s hockey competition of the 19th Commonwealth Games that concluded here Thursday.
Brasa was referring to the 8-0 drubbing that India received at the hands of World Champions Australia in the final. The margin of defeat was an accurate signpost to the hard road ahead for India as they seek re-entry into the top echelons of World hockey.
After the emotional high of the 7-4 win against an over-the-hill Pakistan in the last league game followed by a stirring come-from-behind semi-final triumph in penalties versus England, the final came as a dampener.
“It will take another four years of hard work for us to reach the top level,” warned Brasa who now faces a bigger test when the Indian team travels to China next month for the Asian Games.
Yet, Australian coach Ric Charlesworth opined that the Indian team had made progress, at least tactically and the margin of defeats (6-2 in the league, 8-0 in the final) were an aberration.
“The margin does not accurately reflect the merits of both the teams. The Indians have progressed tactically, but were not consistent enough,” was Charlesworth’s assessment.
At the Asian Games, India will be up against China and South Korea. Four years ago in Doha, the Indians did not make it to even the semi-finals and it was their worst performance in these regional Games that also double up as a qualifying event for the Olympics.
“We do not have much time to prepare for the Asian Games. The Commonwealth Games were just another step for us as we hope to peak at the Asiad,” said Brasa.
After the disappointing ninth place finish at the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, the silver medal was a whiff of fresh air for Indian hockey that is going through a turbulent period in the wake of the shenanigans in the national federation.
Certainly, the Indian team has progressed in terms of disciplined approach marked by ball possession and patience. But then, old habits of flashy dribbling still stick out like a sore thumb especially when the situation demands quicker release of the ball.
Inconsistency in the striking circle and the poor penalty corner conversion rate are the other obvious weaknesses that showed up against a quality team like Australia. These are age-old weak links in the Indian chain that urgently need rectification.
Individually, the Commonwealth Games threw up a few potential World-class players in the Indian team, like forward Sarvanjit Singh and linkman Danish Mujtaba both of whom were outstanding, besides the gifted Sardara Singh, a born inside-forward who is being wasted in full-back position.
As for the fitness, the team management claims progress, but the fact is that the level is still way below World standards. More crucially, the rate of recovery between matches is abominable.
“The emotional game against England took a lot out of the players,” admitted Brasa while in sharp contrast, the Aussies, despite playing all their games in the day when on-pitch temperatures inched towards 40 degrees Celsius, still looked fresh after the final.
Thus, the Indian team, while worthy of accolades for the silver medal, needs to remain focused on the big picture and the big stage.
As Charlesworth said, a medal at the Commonwealth Games was just “another brick in the wall” in the context of preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.
Perhaps, that put Delhi 2010 competition in perspective.
The final positions of teams:
1.Australia; 2. India; 3. New Zealand; 4. England; 5. South Africa; 6. Pakistan; 7. Canada; 8. Malaysia; 9. Scotland; 10. Trinidad and Tobago.
- India are better than what scores might suggest, says Charlesworth - Oct 14, 2010
- Riotous start, tepid finish for Indian hockey (2010 in Retrospect) - Dec 23, 2010
- CWG hockey: Lack of fitness led to defeat, says skipper Rajpal - Oct 07, 2010
- Tough challenge for India in men's hockey - Sep 09, 2010
- India deserved to be in CWG hockey final: Brasa - Oct 12, 2010
- Women's hockey team got their calculations wrong (Review) - Oct 15, 2010
- Australia thrash India 8-0 to win CWG men's hockey gold - Oct 14, 2010
- CWG hockey: Victory a gift to Indian people, says coach Brasa - Oct 10, 2010
- Asian Games hockey: India win bronze; Pakistan gold, Olympics berth (Lead) - Nov 25, 2010
- CWG men's hockey: India need to crack England defence (Semi-final preview) - Oct 11, 2010
- Government of India to give cash awards to Indian Hockey if they win in Commonwealth Games - Oct 14, 2010
- Nobbs focussed on allround development of Indian hockey - Jun 30, 2011
- Gill asks Indian hockey team to give its best - Sep 29, 2010
- Indian women athletes, shooters help country retain No.2 position in CWG on Day-9 - Oct 13, 2010
- All focus on men's hockey team, Saina as India eyes second place in CWG - Oct 14, 2010
Tags: aberration, asiad, asian games, brasa, commonwealth games, dampener, drubbing, echelons, hockey competition, hockey team, indian hockey, league game, national federation, regional games, signpost, silver medal, turbulent period, whiff, world champions australia, world hockey