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Editorial: Planning the bugbear (9/5/2009)
--K. Arumugam
EDITORIAL: Planning continues to be the bugbear

With a foreign coach in place, tours in the offing, the senior team is on right track. The foreign coach is yet to get the full support and equipment to fashion the wards the way he perceives. However, the shortcoming at the senior level pales in comparison to other areas of Hockey India’s activities.

Foremost is, what happened to the talent that had been on the circuit for the last three years? Since Monchanegladbach junior event, almost 30 boys have been on nation’s duty, who of course failed to make a mark in the end of it all (Singapore Junior World Cup).

Winning is good, but if it is not there still one should look at the brighter part of it. That the entire lot of juniors have been overlooked for the Europe Tour is a cause of concern.

If the 3-week multi-nation Europe tour was to spot and shortlist talents for the forthcoming World Cup or Asia Games, besides chasing and changing their playing style and attitude, then the composition of the teams needed to have been far deeper and better focused that what had transpired.

For example, can you have our World Cup team without Diwarkar Ram, for instance?

The point that is sought to drive home is either you a have development team, with separate plans to engage them constantly or enlarge the present talent pool considering the talent depth one witnessed at Singpaore.

Another concern is Nationals. Some sporting disciplines are going ahead with conducting Nationals in Pune. Yes, it is conceded that both the national team preparatory camp and National Championship could be held in the same city for variety of reasons. Exactly, this was the stated position of Hockey India to have Pune as the venue. Now that the hockey camp is going to be in Pune, why to delay the Nationals?

For one reason or other, hockey administrators avoid the Nationals, which is supposed to be the cornerstone of hockey development. Conducting Nationals has become more complex now with each state seemed to have more than two claimants for the state apparatus thanks to hurriedly formed Hockey India.

Then comes the question of selecting talents for the forthcoming Under-18 Asia Cup. It is good that India is participating in this age group. Many leading Asian countries somehow did not take interest in the past. The idea of hosting an inter-Academy trials is also welcome. However, the age criteria is a casualty in the Academies, and it applies to all academies run by the government or private. We are not sure what has been done in this vital area.

It would have been ideal to have the age group National to spot emerging players where in the past all these academies used to take part. Since the age group Asia Cups are rare, we failed to avail the chance systematically – in the sense that many State teams are not in the trails. Many regions are thus left out of talent scouting.

We all know its institutions that pay cheque to players every month, and is the only secret behind how hockey survive in India. What have we done in return?

Cricket adminos recently introduced Corporate Cricket that inter alia respect the corporates who have cricket teams. All stars were in action representing their company.

With no Nationals in sight, star players stocked up in unending camps and tours, what do the Corporates who have hockey teams, gain?

IHF or Hockey India, both have been insensitive to this issue, and the trend continues.

Taking care of elite aspects (Camps, tours etc for senior teams) is not enough.

Hockey India’s planning need to be shaken up so that new vistas open up, while the time tested aspects are not lost sight of .

Are we asking more?

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cricket vs hockey
by Kamlesh Jain on 9/5/2009 6:28:43 PM
hockey can become cricket if only hockey innovates and try to do things differently