M. K. Kaushik shook the defenders with his quick turns, says Mervyn Fernandes

Kaushik moved expertly on the right flank during his playing days, recalls team-mate and Olympian Mervyn Fernandes.

M. K. Kaushik, then coach of the Indian women's hockey team, at the Afro Asian Games in Hyderabad, in 2003. - VINO JOHN

Smiles off the turf and swerves on the move were winger M. K. Kaushik’s trademarks.

Three-time Olympian, inside forward Mervyn Fernandes, team-mate and room-mate for India, points out: “Kaushik’s turning on the right flank was similar to how the South Koreans do it. He turned so quickly that it shook up the defenders.”

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Major tournaments the two played together in the forwardline were the Esanda International Tournament 1979, the Moscow Olympic Games 1980 and Mumbai World Cup 1982.

Kaushik’s smiling demeanour did not diminish his resolve later on in career as India coach. “He was a disciplinarian as coach and after the match would be working out the gameplan for the next match. His player-management skills need to be appreciated, it is said man-management is 60 per cent of a coach’s job,” quipped Fernandes, later to be associated with India men preparations for 1998 Bangkok Asian Games as the government nominee.

Fernandes, later to stand alongside Kaushik on the podium for the medal ceremony as team-mates on the Olympic men champion squad at Moscow 1980, recalled sharing the room with his senior at Perth.

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“Kaushik was like a mother-hen, taking care of everything. It was my first exposure at the World Cup and as a 20-year-old was one of the youngest players.”

The two ex-India team-mates worked in their own different ways preparing the India men’s squad for the Bangkok Asiad.

The link between these two forwards renewed when Fernandes was hospitalised for COVID-19 in Mumbai last month. “I got a message from Kaushik when in hospital for treatment, cheering me up and assuring me that recovery was only a matter of time,” he recalls, adding: “So when I came to know about Kaushik facing health issues and in a New Delhi hospital, I sent him the same message, asking him to fight back and looking ahead to catching up…...”

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