India’s loss is Australia’s gain

October 4th, 2008 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Oct 4 (IANS) Indian sports appear to share a love-hate relationship with Australia. Though they admire the Aussie professionalism and their no-nonsense attitude the Indians somehow find it hard to follow the very qualities. The uncermonious ouster of Greg Chappell and Ric Charlesworth is a case in point.Australia was quick to seize the opportunity to call the two stalwarts back and offer them lucrative positions. While Chappell was appointed the chief coach of Australian Cricket’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, the hockey authorities were quick to hand over the reins of their men’s team, the Kookaburras, to Charlesworth.

Charlesworth has taken over the new assignment within a couple of weeks after resigning as the technical director of Indian hockey out of sheer frustration. The Australian wanted to be the coach of the India team and take it as a challenge to take them to the top of the world hockey order. But he just could not adjust to the Indian bureaucratic system which, in turn, felt he kept shifting goalposts to take absolute control.

Chappell, as has been well documented, also fell out with his Indian employers after two years as their cricket coach.

As befits two true superstars of Australian sport, both have been welcomed back enthusiastically.

While Charlesworth’s appointment created barely a ripple in the media, it’s very good news for hockey and the Olympic family in general.

The urgency shown by Hockey Australia in appointing Charlesworth comes from the realisation that Australian coaches are sought after abroad and they needed to use them for the country’s sports.

The Australian Olympic Committee — and the Paralympians, too — have concluded in recent years that finding the right coaches and, more importantly, keeping them, is as important as unearthing talented athletes.

President John Coates made that point again in Beijing recently when warning that more funding would be needed to keep pace with Great Britain in London in 2012.

For some time, the British have been ploughing huge money into poaching coaches, especially Australians, in a range of sports, and their much-improved performance in China suggests that money was well spent.

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