Indian hockey might have away from the spotlight for a while now but here comes a chance to be at the forefront as a new-look Indian side, under the helm of newly appointed coach, Terry Walsh.
Indian hockey might have away from the spotlight for a while now but here comes a chance to be at the forefront as a new-look Indian side, under the helm of newly appointed coach, Terry Walsh, go into the inaugural Hero Hockey World League Final where the team will open their campaign against higher-ranked England on their home turf. Tough opponents further awaits them but that should be their worry at all.
Sardar Singh who will lead side, should see this as a perfect opportunity as to where does Indian hockey rank among the world greats. Even though, our side is ranked number 10. in the world, the tournament will provide India a perfect build up for the World Cup to be held later this year at The Hague, Netherlands. With the World’s top seven teams in fray here, India could not have asked for better preparation for the quadrennial event. India should consider themselves lucky to be one of the participating teams in the HWL Final. India are also slated to host the prestigious Champions Trophy later this year and it is now high time the past masters of the game take advantage of these big-ticket opportunities.
The past couple of years have been woeful to say the least. Apart from the silver medal in the Asia Cup, India didn’t have anything major to show in 2013. The Indians finished a disappointing sixth in the Hockey World League semi-finals in Rotterdam, but the tournament provides the eight-time Olympic champions a perfect stage to prove their detractors wrong. But a tough road lies ahead as heavyweights – Germany, Australia and Netherlands await. India are placed in Pool A along side reigning Olympic champions and world number one Germany, world No. 4 England and seventh-ranked New Zealand. Pool B consists of Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and Argentina.
Coach Terry Walsh, who took over from Michael Nobbs, has ‘other goals’ in sights. As quoted in the Times of India, Walsh says, “Our goal is improvement as we go through the tournament. We want to see improvement in four areas — physiological, psychological, tactical and basic skills.”
Even though, the Indian hockey team do not remain the ‘favourites’, the hope of playing at home conditions and without any favorable pressure, can add spark to success in cusp for glory.
With Agencies inputs
Photo: Hockey India