A familiar, sick feeling

I watched India get pummeled by Holland (6-1) last night. Masochistic tendencies, I know.

We could not defend a penalty corner to save our life. We gave away soft penalty corners. We couldn’t do much with the penalty corners that we got (a few). We didn’t look incisive when we attacked. We had one player less when we were defending penalty corners a couple of times.

In short, anyone who cares about Indian hockey would’ve had a familiar feeling of a glitch in The Matrix–deja vu. I’ve heard it before. Missed chances, inability to convert penalty corners, too much dribbling, costly defensive lapses, etc.

What do we do? Get a foreign coach? Tried that, and it didn’t work too well you may say. But did we really try it? Get a proven coach, someone who has won World Cups or Champions Tropies or whatever. Get a new set of people to run Indian hockey. Clearly, the current set up isn’t working.

If a team is representing India, especially at our soon to be former national game*, shouldn’t they be given a chance to perform at the highest level? ESPN and Star Sports started a good thing with the Premier Hockey League and the efforts will pay off, but we need more at the international level.

The talent is clearly there, and the effort from the players is evident. Where we’re lacking is in the mental aspects: the strategies, the positioning, the movement–things that a coach can help with.

The game has changed, it’s time Indian hockey changes too. What say IHF ?

* — It’s cricket now, but it’s not offical. Remember, you heard it here first.

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