Watching some of the top hockey teams like Australia, Netherlands, Germany play at the 2012 Olympics gives you a fair impression of the improvement areas Indian team needs to focus on. Michael Nobbs-coached Indian team adopted the Australian style of hockey, the merits of which were seen in all the games India played in the last six months going into the London Olympics.
Chief Coach Michael Nobbs
But with the Indian team delivering their worst-ever performance at hockey’s showpiece event, all the demerits of it are coming out of the closet and that too, in droves.
As a hockey fan first, and second as a sports journalist, I am saddened at the way the Indian team has cut such a frustrating figure at the Olympics. In fact, all the pre-tournament hopes pinned on India got a massive leg up when India fought hard against the Netherlands, especially in the second half after a forgettable first half before an ‘unfair’ penalty stroke denial in the dying minutes of the game robbed us of the opportunity to script a 3-3 draw. The only solace was that we lost narrowly (2-3) against one of the world’s top sides. Continue reading
My friends, mostly non hockey-following, have been posing this question to me – ‘what’s happening with Indian hockey?’, and I am sick and tired of hearing this! I am sure though, that the whole country is asking the same!.
File Photo: Coach Nobbs overseeing a practice session
All I have to say is, What can you expect from a foreign coach? First he blamed the blue turf, now it’s the players who are his target.
Mr. Nobbs, I have some questions for you:
* “Blue turf..…too bouncy, cant convert pc’s”…..so whose fault is it? when you very well knew this change in turf for the Olympics, what/who stopped you from taking the team for pitch practice well in advance? Continue reading
Garh Himmat Singh, one of the most laid back villages in eastern Rajasthan houses a Hockey Academy where more than 50 boys and girls have been playing the Indian National Game since a year. Andrea Thumshirn, a first division hockey player from Germany began this academy in July 2010 and aptly called it Hockey Village India.
We want a ground.. we will play even without it: Hockey Village India
The children from the village have been learning the game and improving at it each day. Though the conditions of the ground are those which no hockey stick in this world can stand – the dust, sand and stones are painful, the kids don’t mind because they know that their time on a “real” ground will come. Continue reading
Custodian Bharat Chetri will be the captain of the Indian hockey team and the live wire of team Sardar Singh will be his deputy in the London Olympics. Hockey India has announced the 18 member squad including 2 stand bys who will be staying and practicing with the team in the Olympic Village and Riverbank Arena, but can be included only in case of serious injury amongst 16 players.
India are in Pool B, alongwith Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and Netherlands and will open their campaign against Netherlands on 30 July.
Indian team will reach Olympic Games village in London on 19 July 2012, after finishing their final leg of preparations for Olympics with tour of France and Spain, where they will play test matches against France, Spain and South Africa and a tri-nation tournament involving Great Britain, Spain and India.
The Schedule of Olympics can be found here.
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (Captain), P R Sreejesh Continue reading
The performance of Indian team has been improving slowly and steadily since last Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. India cherished some moments in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2011 when they defeated Great Britain, drew with last World Champions Australia, but to falter in second half of the tournament which includes Black Sticks’ biggest win against India 7-3 in league stage and finishing 6th.
Chief Coach Michael Nobbs
The result of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2011 has changed a lot of things in Indian hockey (read on stick2hockey.com), including appointment of current Chief Coach Michael Nobbs. Under Nobbs, team’s performance has improved, which can be seen from the title winning performance at Asian Champions Trophy 2011 and qualifying for Olympics in style (defeated France 8-1 in final). But one area still needs improvement, i.e. India’s old problem of succumbing under the pressure in dying moments of game and conceding equalizer or losing goal, for example, the Final of Champions Challenge I in South Africa (lost to Belgium 3-4, conceded a goal in 70th minute), Semi Final of Asian Games 2010 against Malaysia (lost in extra time 3-4 after conceding equalizer in 67th minute). Similarly, India played well against Germany in Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament at Riverbank Arena, only to concede a goal in 65th minute and lost 2-1. Continue reading
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the most prestigious hockey tournament outside FIH calendar, which has been regularly hosted since its inception in 1983 and have been played 20 times till 2011. Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2012 will be 21st edition and special with the fact that it will be played on blue pitch with yellow ball, as in London Olympics 2012, at Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh (Perak, Malaysia), which can be reached in two hours by and located in north of Kuala Lumpur.
Chief Coach Michael Nobbs
Since, Olympics are round the corner, every team will try to test their strategy and finalize their squads for London, this edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is expected to witness some high class competitive matches and not forget to clash of arch rivals India and Pakistan on 31st May, 2012. Korea, New Zealand and India are in same pool in London Games, while other three teams Great Britain, Argentina and Pakistan are in one pool in Olympics, so it will be interesting to see how do they play each other in their last face-to-face before locking horns in quadrennial event on Riverbank Arena, London. Teams have studied their opponents very well before the tournament, while Korean coach Shin Kyo Seok feels that current Indian team is impressive and will be difficult for them to tackle India after watching the videos of Indian team playing against Germany, Australia and Great Britain in Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament in London. Continue reading