London: The newly-introduced blue turf in world hockey has once again come in for sharp criticism from India`s chief coach Michael Nobbs, who said he doesn`t understand why the London Olympic organizers decided to hold the competition on such "a slow and bouncy surface".
Nobbs said the blue turf is no match to the traditional green pitch and all the teams will face difficulties in adjusting to the surface.
"During the tour (of Spain) we played on blue turf and let me tell you some interesting facts have come up. None of the teams we played during the tour could convert most of the penalty corners (including ourselves). We could convert only three of the 33 penalty corners," he said.
"The turf is made by the same company with same colour but it played differently at different places. Each turf has different characteristics depending on the climatic conditions.
"In France we played on green turf which was fast while blue turf was slow and bouncy. I don`t know why this turf has been introduced. I can only guess that blue being one of the Olympic colour, they have introduced it (in London Olympics)," Nobbs added.
Hockey in the London Games will be played on the new blue turf at the Riverbank Arena, which has become a talking point for its unpredictable nature.
Nobbs is not alone to criticise the surface. His Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth too has been a vocal critic of the blue turf since its introduction in world hockey for its uneven and slower nature.
Talking about India`s chances in the upcoming Games,
Nobbs said despite lot of naysayers back home and here he has full faith in his team.
The Australian, however, warned against any high expectation from his wards in the London Games, saying he needs time to bring Indian hockey back to its previous glory.
"I would not have taken this job, if I had no faith in the boys. It`s a tough road ahead and I am willing to stick my neck out, but people need to have patience and I need time," Nobbs said.
"I know there is a lot of emotions and passion for hockey in India but one has to be very realistic. I am rebuilding the team. Country has the talent and I want to make best use of them," the coach said.
Nobbs, who played as centre-half for Australia in the early eighties, added: "I took up the challenge to be the coach of the country for which I have lot of love and appreciation.
"My dream is to get Indian hockey back to its rightful place in international sporting arena. Despite not very impressive showing by Team India in recent times, world hockey needs India, which was once represented by wizard Dhyan Chand."
Nobbs was also satisfied with the progress of the team in the last one year.
"In last one year since I took over, there has been lot of improvement in the team. I am not bragging, this is a fact and I don`t want to be modest about it," he said.
He asserted that the present Indian hockey team is the fittest side in recent times, and said one of the many things he brought to Indian hockey is sports science.
Nobbs also said that he was happy with the co-operation he received from Hockey India in the last one year.
"I have been given some autonomy by Hockey India and that has helped me a lot. I do not play favourites nor do have one. I want best available talent in my squad."
Talking about the just-concluded European tour, he said, "Well don`t go by the results, we used this tour as a learning process. It was like find and fix exercise. We tried to find out what are our grey areas and what are the things we need to do.
"We used all the players in these matches (Test series against Spain and South Africa and the preceding tri-series). Except South Africa, other teams Spain and England are much higher ranked than us and the tour taught us the importance of playing against strong teams," he said.
"If only we are able to convert the chances that come our way, the story will be different and I am not talking of half chances here. This team has good attackers, our attack rate is superb but we still lack good finishing and that is the big problem," Nobbs added.