Posted on March 4, 2010. Filed under: HOCKEY, INDIA, SPORTS |

Another loss by the margin of 5-2 and this loss to Spain puts to rest all the speculation about India’s great hockey revival story. There is no way India can now reach the last four with England winning its three encounters.Australia is looking pretty solid with the demolition of South Africa. Now India has to do something great to win the remaining matches, at least to provide some consolation to the followers.

If anyone thought that the loss to Australia was an aberration, team India proved them wrong with yet another display that lacked conviction. Chances were not taken and in the end, the scoreline reflected the opportunities that were squandered.

Indian teams have never been comfortable with penalty corners, but the success rate of 1 from 8 is not expected from a team that is supposedly on the path of revival.The forwards just could not push the ball into the net and the midfielders were unable to keep in possession the ball for any length of time.Time and again, the defenders were made to look very ordinary in the face of the counterattacks from the Spanish.

As in the past, the scapegoats will be found and they will be made to accept all the responsibility for the poor showing.It would not be a surprise if the absence of Shivendra is cited as the main cause of the defeats.

The proverbial question of India’s revival still remains unanswered.

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Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: HOCKEY, SPORTS, WORLD CUP 2010 | Tags: , , , , |

It was the same old story, the same old failings and the same old result-a defeat after raising the expectations to very high levels, in fact, leaving some to dream about the glory days of long gone by decades.

The hockey team that suddenly became the focus for all the right reasons after the stunning victory over Pakistan, was stopped in its tracks by the team from down under.The stronger physique of the rival coupled with a stronger strategy was too hot to handle for team India.

This match between India and Australia grabbed the headlines in the manner that has been given to cricket matches between these two nations since 2001.This was a proud moment since hockey became as fashionable as cricket.Over the years, hockey matches between India and Australia were considered one-sided and there was very little hope for the fans.But now after the win over Pakistan, things appeared rosy, to say the least.

Team India could do no wrong in its match against Pakistan, while nothing seemed to go right in its encounter with Australia.Penalty corners, never a strong point with the Indians, proved to be very costly and decisive against Australia.Three penalty corners were squandered away and that made the difference to the final scoreline.

It is argued by some that the suspension of Shivendra for foulplay after the first match was the reason for the defeat to Australia.But the other members of team India could not raise their play seemingly exhausted after the effort against Pakistan.

The World Cup is not over by any means, but after this defeat, one is discouraged to look ahead to the rest of the matches.

It is either a case of a flash in the pan(the win over Pakistan) or just an aberration(the defeat to Australia).

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Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: A K MATTOO, HOCKEY, HOCKEY INDIA, INDIA, K P S GILL, M S GILL, SPORTS, SURESH KALMADI, VIDYA STOKES | Tags: , , , , |

Damn with the game of hockey!

First the men demand money and after a strike and press conferences, and offers of help from really unexpected quarters, the light is found at the end of the tunnel and money is raised and the players are happy to take part in the conditioning camp. A K Mattoo, the standing-in chief of Hockey India puts in his papers feeling pissed off in the whole episode.

Just as everyone feels nostalgic over the record books gloating over the achievements of the Indian hockey in the past decades, the women decide to stick black tape on their arms in a sign of protest.

As usual, the women players talk of dues promised but not paid and in the light of the settlement deal reached with the men, this is perceived as a gross injustice, which is justified.

Not surprisingly, the new standing-in chief of Hockey India, Vidya Stokes, claims no knowledge of the protest of the players with a straight face. Then taking a u-turn, the players are offered Rs.50K each, which is turned down.Again, in a bizarre repeat of the earlier week, offers come in from the unexpected sources and the players are promised their dues.

This time, the former boss of Hockey India, K P S Gill did not offer his help in resolving the crisis in minutes, like the case was with the striking men. The Central Minister, M S Gill, a self appointed cleanser of Indian Hockey too seemed busy with more important things. 

But like a bolt from the blue, the women players are not satisfied.They insist on changes to be brought about in the whole system.So the impasse has not ended.The ‘top’ sports administrator in the country, Suresh Kalmadi has his hands full.

Again, as expected, the elections to elect the office bearers of Hockey India is ‘postponed’ for some unavoidable reasons(a common phrase used in India).

The game of hockey is surely helping the news channels to gain more points and making bloggers like me appear to be important.

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