Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Mar 2018 11:38:44

Nakshatra Purvashadha 9H 31M

Moon Dhanu up to 16H 16M (Rajandekar Panchang)
Paksha Falgun Krishna Tithi Dashami 11H 10M,
Bhadra ends 11H 10M
Muslim Jamadilawal 23rd Hijree 1439

THE Indian hockey team has earned the dubious distinction of being eternal squanderers of chances that come their way almost in every international tournament they are part of. So, true to their form, they squandered their chances against lowly placed Ireland on Friday and frittered away their much needed lead to go down when a win mattered the most to remain in contention for podium finish in the Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament in Malaysia. At the end the Indian team finished a lowly fifth. That has been a perpetual story of Indian Hockey of late for the last couple of decades.

The coaches, the team management and Hockey India authorities may claim that they had sent an inexperienced team to the tournament to give chance to newcomers in a tournament that is taken very seriously by all the participating teams from abroad. Then why Hockey India chose to send an inexperienced team in the first place? Usually the Ipoh tournament is the one all international teams test their preparedness and true to that all strong contenders in the tournament showed no signs of relent in their competitive spirit.

The Indian team, on the other hand, has had a below par outing in the first three matches and was desperately seeking a big win against Ireland on Friday. Though they began well and took two goal lead, the usual thing happened. Having taken the lead the Indian boys relaxed. They allowed the rivals to claw back into contention finally to lose the encounter and also the chance to finish among the top four in the tournament.

This has been the bane of Indian hockey for many years and surprisingly the coaches have not been able to drill into the players’ minds that they have no business to relax till the end. The story has been repeating without let, whether it is experienced senior pros or the inexperienced experimental side that the Hockey India sent to the Malaysian tournament. It is surprising that no coach has been able to address the malady afflicting the Indian hockey players to relax towards the fag end of a match and allow the opponents to snatch the initiative.

HI’s move to give exposure to the upcoming talented players as part of team-building and augmenting bench strength is quite understandable and welcome. There is also no denying that Indian hockey is in the process of rebuilding and regaining lost glory. But it cannot revel on past glory. Much change has overtaken the game of hockey internationally and new powers have emerged. Indian hockey needs to work for those changed circumstances and contend with new power equations. The methods and manners have to change as to suit the changes that have overtaken international hockey.