Writing some thoughts i had at the India-Britain match today. India lost 3-2, but often, the scoreline doesnt tell the entire story. Which is why i felt the need to write these thughts … Also to write what i feel is the direction the team seems to be taking.
To begin with, we need to be clear of one thing … We should not evaluate the performance of the team on a match-by-match basis. The kind of improvement we are talking about is a long-drawn process. Over the last few years, India have been underdogs in most of the tournaments we have played. Though there have been flashes of brilliance, like winning the Asia Cup, these have been, at best, flashes. What we need is sustained performance, for which, is required sustained improvement.
Coming back to the game … India were playing the tournament favourites. If the Indian team were underdogs, playing the favourites, the match would have been one-sided. That the match wasnt.
Passing in the Indian team seemed to be non-existent. The defence was terrible, and man-to-man marking in the D was non-existent. Maybe tgere were too many solo runs. The British had 56% possession of the ball, and yet, the score was 3-2.
What this means is this … I felt the Indian team was playing suboptimally tonight, and yet, played a game, against the tournament favourites, which was quite balanced. What this means is that if thenIndian team play to their potential, the team can win against any side. What the team probably needs time … And opportunity. One factor, i feel, is that Michael Nobbs needs to be given time to develop to their potential. With his coachng, they can.
What hockey needs in the subcontinent is encouragement, for both India and Pakistan to reach again the glory we once had. Jut a thought … Why cant India and Pakistan host a hockey tournament, an annual fixture, to match the Champions Trophy? This would build enthusiasm for the game.
As for the Indian team … Go for it, Mr. Nobbs. And for the team … Guys, go for gold. There are lots of folks in the country who are looking forward to an Olympic medal in hockey.