LETTERS

Gentleman on and off the field

Sir, — I have known Balkishen Singh as a player and coach.

My association goes back to the days when I was in college and attending various coaching camps held in Patiala and Jallandhar, under Balkishen Singh.

It was in the 60s when Balkishen Singh was still playing for the Indian Railways. He was a very elegant and versatile player and was a hard hitter of the ball.

When I represented Tamil Nadu in the Rangaswamy Cup — the National hockey championship, Balkishen was in the Indian Railways team and I had the opportunity of playing against him.

Later, when Balkishen Singh became the coach I was fortunate to be guided by him. He was an excellent coach and always had innovative ideas, which he put in practice. `Total Hockey' was his concept.

It was he who mooted the idea and put into practice the four forwards and four half-backs, instead of the normal five forwards and three half-backs.

His intention was to play one forward as a withdrawn defender against the strong European teams.

Though there was a lot of criticism from various quarters at that time, today the present coaches are adopting the method, which was introduced by Balkishen Singh.

I have known him as a thorough gentleman on and off the field, very polished in his approach.

During his playing days he hardly received any card from the umpire for violation of rules.

Muneer Sait (Olympian and FIH member), Chennai

Not surprising

Sir, — The Indian cricket team's defeat against Bangladesh in the second one-dayer is not surprising and those who think that Bangladesh's victory is a fluke are mistaken.

India is the only cricket team in the world, which is consistently inconsistent. This is perhaps the only team, which flies high with every victory and under performs in the next.

Time and again we have seen that India had slipped from its potential and performed very badly immediately after a victory.

The biggest problem before India is complacency and if that is not the case, then what would one say about its performance against Bangladesh in the first two one-dayers?

Though India won in the first it had to struggle to do so, and in the second Bangladesh got the better of India.

The Indians have not been able to complete a whitewash of late and that is only because of their inconsistency. The records are proof enough. Though India won the series against Bangladesh, the real Test will be against the Pakistanis, who will be visiting India soon.

One hopes that India puts up a better performance against Pakistan. All that the team needs is determination and killer instinct. Hope it will achieve that.

Angarag Bhuyan, Assam