Hockey India set to rope in foreign expert

Taking a serious note of India`s disastrous Azlan Shah campaign, Hockey India decided to rope in a foreign expert for the team.

New Delhi: Taking a serious note of India`s disastrous Azlan Shah campaign, Hockey India on Tuesday decided to rope in a foreign expert for the team and has formed a five-member panel to scout for the best possible candidate within 15 days.

India, who were the joint winners along with South Korea in the last edition of the event, finished a lowly sixth out of seven teams in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malayia earlier
this month.

No sooner had it happened, alarm bells started to ring in the HI circles which held a marathon day-long review meeting of its coaching and development committee at a city hotel on Tuesday.

Apart from the members of the Pargat Singh-led coaching and development committee, the meeting was also attended by HI secretary general Narinder Batra, newly-appointed Sports Authority of India Director General Desh Deepak Verma and national team coach Harendra Singh.

Besides, former Olympians, some state association representatives, government observers, national team coach Harendra, selection committee member and Azlan Shah-bound team manager Col Balbir Singh, trainer Pradip Dutta, physio Shrikant Iyengar among others.

"We had our coaching and development meeting on Tuesday to review the team`s performance in the Azlan Shah Cup. We had detailed discussions about various issues," HI secretary general Batra told reporters.

"(During the meeting) we came to a consensus that we need a foreign expertise. So, we have formed a five-member committee to rope in a candidate within 15 days," he said.

The five-member panel will include Pargat, SS Grewal, former players Jagbir Singh, A B Subbiah and Balbir. The committte will also have Batra as the convenor.

The HI secretary general, however, made it clear that as of now no changes have been made to the national team`s coaching department and the foreign expert may roped in any capacity.

"It`s not foreign coach, he can be as an advisor also. But it clear that we won?t compromise and will bring in the best person," Batra said.

"We didn`t make any changes to the present coaching staff. We only discussed the way ahead," he added.
Batra, however, said that a few changes can be expected in the team in the coming days.

"I won`t like to say changes but may be a few corrections in specific areas because we have to rectify. No one is satisfied with the team`s performance," he said.

Asked whether the current support staff is under scanner, Batra replied,"There is no uncertainty. Everyone will be deliberated about their respective roles."

He also said that the national federation had taken a stock of the requirements of the team and they will provide the things which are in their ambit.

"We have noted down certain requirements and the things which we can provide we will provide it to the team. For example, the team complained that they didn`t have new shoes to play on astro-turf and so, we have decided that from now onwards HI will give shoes for every tournaments and will not
ask SAI."

"We have also decided that we will provide kits to top six goal-keepers of the country, both men and women. The players have also complained washing clothes becomes a tiring job for them, so we have decide to the players as well as officials Rs 100 per day per person as laundry allowance," Batra said.

With the four-and-a-half month gap after the Guangzhou Asian Games and poor training facilities in the Capital becoming serious issues for the team`s poor performance in the Azlan Shah Cup, he said the next national camp will start in the last week of next month.
"The next national camp will start in between 25th and 30th June. The senior men`s camp will be held in either Pune or Bangalore because these places have compact facilities. The general belief is that Delhi is not the perfect place for a camp," the HI secretary general said.

"The camp for the women`s team will be held in Patiala and the junior team will be held in either Bhopal or Ranchi."

Noting that qualifying for the London Olympics is at the top of the agenda of HI, Batra said they are ready to provide every possible help to the team.

"The question end of the day is to qualify for the Olympics. We also felt the necessity of providing a sports psychologist with the team. We will also provide a physiologist, bio-mechanist, yoga instructor on basis of request from team management."

The present Indian team is without a doctor after Indian Army has refused to release incumbent B K Naik and Batra said the side needs him badly as he is the best man available for the job in the country.
"We have issues on doctor. I don`t know why the Indian Army is not releasing the doctor (Naik). He was with the team for more than two years and he knows the limitations of all the players. He is the best available doctor in India," he said.


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