Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kaushik, Jagbir or someone else?

Today's Hindustan Times reports that it's gonna go in the hands of Kaushik.
Indian Express says that it will end up in hands of Jagbir Singh!
Sher Khan saheb says that it should be Bansal only or else he is gonna put up a brave front against the proceedings. I wonder if the "selection committee" is the selection committee for coaches too!
Very interestingly, the report in HT says, "Dhanraj Pillay is not in the scheme of things!". Did they mean that Dhanraj Pillay is also aspiring for the coach job?
Like Indian Politics, Hockey mein kuch bhi ho sakta hai!

Anyhow, so here we are, it will no one but an Olympians. (you may click the link)
If you can't answer the question, which Political party should rule the country, then it's very likely that you may not be able to answer this puzzle too!
Very much like the Indian Political system, there is no one with clean image or no one who has a credible resume to coach the Indian team.

Jagbir Singh has been an active commentator with the ESPN Star Sports. He is good when it comes to "how to talk and what to talk" in media.
Kaushik, on the other hand, has been off and on with the Indian Women's Hockey Team. Apart from 1998 Asiad Gold success, he has tasted a small bit of success in Women's Hockey. 1998 was 10 years back and World Hockey has gone miles ahead from there. Kaushik's Olympic gold medal came 28 years back. That kind of 'field' Hockey no one plays nowadays.

So, who will it be?... Bansal.. ? or someone else ...?
I am not hoping big laurels in the days to come.
Mostly all Olympians being considered for the job will flunk if FIH creates a 'report card'. But then, the choice is to be made from these only.
I just hope whomsoever spoils the game further, does with some mercy to Indian Hockey....

Foreigner v Indian

Change, a 6 letter word but the most difficult word when it comes to implementation.

This is what today's Indian Hockey demands. An attitude change, a perspective change, an approach change and finally a wholistic change.

Let's accept the fact. We all live in a democratic country.

On one side, you have "For a foreigner group". The Hockey intelligensia in this group vehemently demanded that Ric Charlesworth should be instantiated as the Chief Coach for the Men's Hockey team. You ask anything to these people they have all the facts and figures to support their cause. Alas, their number is few.

On the other side, you have "For Only an Indian" group. They say that Indian person, and only an Indian, can bring about a change in the state of affairs. Each one has a solution with them, how to improve the pathetic state of the game. Amongst all skewed statistics that they possess, these people lack planning, vision, have malice in mind (which cannnot be proved in any forum) but have one thing that no one can ever dispute (in the same, above mentioned forums - to say the least): I love Hockey.

So, you have two poles-apart opinions: Get a foreigner v Get an Indian.

(Foreigner here is primarily meant in context of a "white" person.)

I feel it's a mammoth task to go to a completely "For a Foreigner" because it needs a massive attitude shift for the other section. Since, this other section is large in number and no one can dispute their so called 'love' for the game, it's likely that the "For a Foreigner" group is gonna loose the battle.

However, with Ric Charlesworth (more or less) out of the fray, I feel the battle has not been really lost as IOA made an annoucement today that they are likely to get an "Foreigner Technical Expert". As reported by Hindustan Times, the name of Tayyab Ikram, FIH coaching Project Manager, is going around.

I am not aware of who he is but I surely believe anyone who holds official post in FIH. I am sure he/she would have a professional approach.

I feel this is a smart move to give a push to the thinking of "For Only an Indian" group. Have an Indian coach but have a Technical Expert from outside. Now, this outsider belongs to the sub-continent. This may be a move to please the FIH, but I welcome it. For, I believe that until there is no pressure or no external authority to please nothing much comes out.

Be it either of the 2 reasons, but I feel, IOA officials are thinking of a change, although a small one.

This may be the start of an era which will one day culminate in a day when you have a foreign coach. So, "For a foreigner" group need not be that dissappointed with the state of affairs, afterall.
Or to sum it all, may be, I just found a reason to keep my hope alive!! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

FIH, IOA and Hockey India

Finally, something has moved forward.
Kalmadi and Els van Breda Vriesman had a landmark meeting where they decided to dissolve Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) to rename it as "Hockey India".
I feel, for a change, Kalmadi is thinking positive. He looks committed to host the 2010 World Cup and to top it all, the Champions Trophy is coming to India in 2011 and 2012, in principle.
As of today, India has no rank in Champions Trophy. So, in a way, it's good that there is a guarantee for us to play in it.
Also, he talks definite, that he plans to see a Hockey medal in 2012 London Olympics.

Els van Breda Vriesman says that she is satisfied to see the developments in Indian Hockey. I feel that it definitely holds a lot of weight. The lady, who once claimed that failure of revival of Indian Hockey would be her personal failure, when she says this, I, as a fan, feel that probably she sees some light when she dealt with Kalmadi all the while.

Cutting short controversies and being well prepared with all cut-throat questions is something I admire in the concept of professionalism. 1 week of furore on Charlesworth's departure and eat this: Vriesman says,"His work is done. I am satisfied with his inputs. His continuation depends on IOA now."
Simple isn't it? .. Now ask what you want to ..?... whole saga summed in 3 line.
Salute to you Ms. Vriesman. I love the way you love Hockey! The beauty lies in the way you cut short all the negative publicity that this country offers to the game!

Just see one fact: 2 days of meeting between Vriesman and Kalmadi brings about so many concrete decisions. On the other side, months of ad-hoc committee work and the RESUTL = ZERO.
Apart from crying foul, attending press conferences and give gallantry statements ad-hoc committee has definitely promised one thing that makes me feel scared: It is on Gill's track...

I agree, there is lot to implement now. So many administrators, in both Men and Women's Hockey, massive load of opinions of 'Olympians', some selfish, some self centered people but alas for a moment I feel that something is about to happen now ... something that may be on the road to professionalism ... and the revival of the "Hockey India" in "World Hockey".

Last but not the least, MS Gill, Sports Minister, although may not be very good at his facts, has blasted DD for not taking any initiative to cover Jr. Asia Cup. I feel, firstly, he deserves applaude. He is definitely better than his predecessors. Atleast, he is taking some interest in Hockey. Secondly, planned 'implementation' is what I keenly look for. I hope, next time DD is alerted beforehand.

AHF Professionalism

Check this: Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) had a meeting of all it's members in the backdrop of Jr. Asia Cup and Indian media was busy covering if at all Gill, Jothikumaran, Stokes and Bose will attend the meeting.
To add to the complication, ad hoc committee were also representing Indian Hockey and media had hyped the event such that everyone was waiting for the tamasha to happen.
But P. Alagendra has not eaten "chane" being the Secretary of AHF. They were not here to sort out internal matters of IHF. This is what is the beauty of administration. If you want, you CAN avoid a controversy.
They came, did their meeting, took their decisions, put down all controversial questions and moved on. To cut it short, they said that Gill is elected in 2006 and will remain the vice-president till 2010 - Chapter closed. No more questions, no more controversies.
Kudos to you, Mr. P. Alagendra! ... I hope we learn the meaning of word 'focus' from you!

A couple of print media covered Sher Khan Saheb's foul cry of blasting the AHF for not holding certain tournaments on grass.... insha-allah... apni khair manayeye .. agar uspe bhi haar gaye .. tab kahan khelengen?

Jr. Asia Cup victory

First things first, it's great to "hear" (not see) that India won the Jr. Asia Cup beating Korea 3-2 in a clincher where they were trailing 0-2 at one time.
All the talk that has been going on for a while may be good or bad, but the fact remains that the game looks and sounds best when played on turf.
So, no doubts, leaving aside the Cup controversy, under-age allegations and no TV-telecast, one thing is for sure: Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander!
Some may argue that, if at all, is it honest to rejoice and claim, "Indian Hockey is on right track!"
I would say, "We will decide later, let's just enjoy the moment!" ... Chak de .. India! :)