Indian hockey needs a miracle

PARGAT SINGH

WHENEVER we get a chance to progress, we don't just make mistakes but end up getting it all doubly wrong.

Playing the Champions Trophy at home can be an advantage, but I feel that the preparation of the Indian team has not been good. So, except for the atmosphere, we don't know how helpful it would be to play at home against the best teams in the world. We have totally ignored domestic hockey, in the name of preparing for the Champions Trophy. We let some players compete in Pakistan and some in Holland. The proposed tournaments and Test matches to build the team have not come through.

Overall, there has not been much competition for the team. There have also been many changes in the team. At times, two different teams were training separately. Of course, the plan will always be to get a well balanced and well meaning team, but I don't expect much from the team.

It is an important tournament, no doubt, and a build-up event for the World Cup next year. A good platform for marketing the game. I don't feel like talking about our chances, because then we go back to address the same problems all over again. The problems are with every team, but unfortunately we consistently make mistakes. For every step forward, we end up taking two steps backwards. I think Indian hockey needs a miracle to resurrect itself. It will be a good competition. There is hardly any difference between the players. Some players may have realised that their names don't count forever. You may have rich experience, but it is performance that counts. What is the point if you are talking big off the field, but not performing on it? Look what is happening in Indian cricket.

The only thing is we need to be brutally frank and tell the players on their face that they don't deserve to be in the team, if they don't perform.

If we adopt a no-nonsense professional approach, maybe we will start getting the results that we have so desperately been looking for in top class competitions like the Champions Trophy.

(As told to Kamesh Srinivasan)