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Kaushik Column
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Team need to stay in focus (11/16/2010)
--M.K. Kaushik
Our women hockey team, for once, had everything it asked for. Over time, talented players have been picked up, they were given long time training, blessed wide experience of exposure thanks to governments’ benevolence, and the players had the luxury of even having coaches and support staff of their choice. So, the team has got all that any team can think of. So, we hope the players deliver. We are midway through the event, I wish them to learn from their mistakes and quickly build up confidence so that we can be in the fray till the last minute and move towards podium.

In the first game against Malaysia, we held the ball better, we could avail the chances we created, though the team did not show their true class throughout. However, it should be pointed out here that the team made some avoidable mistakes which helped their rival to score. They benefited by kicking un-pressurized ball, giving away two penalty corners, while conceding none.

We were also responsible for giving away easy balls to opponent; over all Malaysian team was weak, not even half the form they used to possess in the recent past. It seems to the team need to watch videos of our game, with focus on individuals’ performance.

India today lost to Japan 0-3. I can say confidently that the our team did well and played to the expected standard in some spells. We also got rewarded for this-- three penalty corners. We need to stay focused in this vital area to score goals. We also easily gave away equal number of penalty corners to Japan. To me, it appears we gifted goals to our rivals, because those goals came due to our fault not because any extraordinary game of the rivals. Our defences could have been better organized when we were under pressure. Full degree of co-operation is needed to score, and I wish it in the frontline. They have to now pull up the socks. The team need to speak to each other during the match, better covering of each other, and the goalkeeper need to be patient and not act in panicky. I wish experienced players in our team should rise to the occasion and lead the youngsters for success in the remaining matches.

My advice to the team is, stay focused, minimize mistakes, never be satisfied just being there. Work harder to gain confidence. To compliment the fitness of each player, judicious use of rolling substitution is must. Hope coaches assimilate this view of mine.

I see lot of positives in these two matches gone by. We have got fifty percent of our goals through penalty corners, did not concede penalty corner goals, we did not get cards, no injury and alike. We need to demonstrate that we are one vibrant team till the final.

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