Australian hockey legend Ric Charlesworth feels India’s below-par performance at the Asian Games was an aberration and despite the needless changing of coaches, the team has made significant gains in the last three-four years.
Fed up with the system, he could last only 10 months as technical director of Indian hockey almost a decade ago.
You have made two Champions Trophy final in the last two years and in the last one, India actually played better than Australia (before losing in shoot-out),” Charlesworth told PTI on Saturday.
I remember when I was in India in 2008, Greg Chappell (then India cricket coach) said ‘if India get their act together, they will have five best cricket teams in the world’.
Likewise, you do have a lot of players in hockey and that change has started to occur,” said the 66-year-old, who has also played first-class cricket for Western Australia.
They were also innovators in the game. When we started playing in the 70s, we could not beat India or Pakistan.
That has changed over the last 30 years because they stopped learning and you better keep learning in whatever you are doing, else you don’t progress,” he said.
They know their game and their rivals. They know they (players of other top teams) have two arms and legs like them and they are capable of beating them.
Mentally they have become tougher, so all of that adds up to make a more reliable and consistent team.”
But India still fail to do the basics right sometimes and allow teams to make a comeback in the dying minutes of the game, like they did against Malaysia in the Asian Games semifinal before losing the shoot-out.
If you start thinking about the outcome, it happens. They need to learn that lesson. Keep doing what you are doing.
The loss against Malaysia was an example of that. But I think it was an aberration and I am sure the players know that,” said Charlesworth.
But In the end, you need a team of coaches and there Indians need to get involved. Harendra Singh in my opinion is a good coach,” he said.
I came here 10 years ago and said it is a 10-year project. You need consistency and reliability. Make appointment and stick with them.
They have not done that too. HIL not happening is also significant and disappointing because it has done a lot of good for Indian hockey,” said Charlesworth, who is open to return to coaching only after the schooling of his two kids.