June 6, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Concerns about the Indian men’s hockey team after the Tokyo show: true or unsubstantiated?

New Delhi: There was a lot of activity between India’s defeat to France in South Africa and two Pro League matches against Spain last weekend. The tone of the affair between Delhi and Bhubaneswar was “damage control”, especially since the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics was followed by a scathing letter to Hockey India (HI) naming India’s performance “unacceptable”.
Although the reaction after the system failure may seem surprising, the socks should be pulled up. Narinder Bhadra, President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), has written to HI citing the Asian Champions Trophy (ACD) in Dhaka and the Pro League tour of South Africa.
India won the bronze medal in Dhaka. The team defeated the hosts and France in three of the four matches they played in South Africa, but lost 2-5 in the second match against France.

(India won the first match 5-4 against Spain, but lost the second match 3-5 – Photo: Hockey India)
Do not use ‘mismanaged’ and ‘mismanaged’ in conversation without knowing that something happened outside the playground. But now not everyone is open about it.
Therefore, it is difficult to digest such a harsh reaction to a defeat, especially against the ever-advancing French team that beat India twice in the Junior World Cup last December. But the performance of the Indian senior team in the ACT was strictly equal.
Nonetheless, players and coaches were invited to Delhi for talks, then flew to IOA chief Bhuvneshwar and played “team formation” games, perhaps drawing more than visual encounters.

(Narinder Bhadra speaks to soldiers during his visit to Bhubaneswar – Photo courtesy: Narinder Bhadra)
India risked their lives to win the first match against Spain last weekend. The Jail Break won 5-4, with the Spanish leading 4-1. The expression of relief on the faces of the Indian players could not be without, but the attempt at revenge could not go unnoticed. It was commendable in every way.
But international teams can’t come back every day. Spain’s duties were much better after 24 hours, and the final score was 5-3 in favor of the public.
The expression of “relief” on that Saturday turned into a tight hairpin on India’s forehead on Sunday, indicating some connection with the progress made in the two weeks between South Africa’s return to India and last Sunday.
To relate it to field operations, one cannot argue the inconsistency in the six matches played in South Africa and Bhubaneswar. But if a coach is trying to figure out the best combination and tactics for the big games to come, many vow not to read that mistake too much along the way.

Still, can Graham Reed be noticed? Knowing India’s love-hate relationship, especially with foreign coaches, it cannot be completely denied.
In contrast, India needs consistent momentum for the next 12 months, including the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Cup.
In the final note, Spain head coach Max Caldas asked TimesofIndia.com what he thinks is the difference between the appearance of the Dutch team he managed at the 2018 World Cup and the appearance of India at the 2021 Olympic bronze medal. In a word: “Graham.”

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