India coach Walsh critical of Natl camp being held in Delhi

New Delhi: Indian hockey team`s chief coach Terry Walsh today lashed out as the national probables` preparatory camp for the upcoming World Cup is being held in searing capital heat instead of cooler confines in any other part of the country. Walsh indirectly took a dig at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and said his first choice for the camp was always SAI`s South Centre in Bangalore.

Asked if it made sense to hold a camp in conditions where the maximum temperature is 43 degrees Celsius while the World Cup will be held in The Hague, Walsh sarcastically retorted, "Is there a choice? It`s not in my hands. I always wanted the camp to be held in Bangalore but for that we needed to put in place a new turf."

"Bangalore`s climate is much more plesant. But in the end it`s all about inefficiency, poor plannning and poor management," an angry Walsh told PTI after the team`s training session in sultry conditions at the Major Dhyan Chand national Stadium here today.

"It is not us who suffers, it is the players who suffer," he added. The camp of the senior men`s team was shifted out of Bangalore in August last year because of a worn-out astro-turf at the SAI (South) Centre, which resulted in injuries to key players like Gurmail Singh, Harbir Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, and S V Sunil among others.

This year`s hockey World Cup will be held from May 31 to June 15 at The Hague, Netherlands where maximum temperatures would be between 15-20 degree Celsius.

Walsh also rued the absence of an astroturf at places which are situated at higher altitude. "Do we have turfs in hilly places? I would have loved to have the camp in such places but for that we need turfs. As far my knowledge, we have a turf in Manipur but all the facilities which the modern day hockey demands were not there," he said.

Walsh, however, said that things would have been much more difficult for Indian players if the temperatures were below 10 degree celsius during the World Cup. Talking about his wards` preparation for the World Cup, the Australian emphasised on the "physiological change" the players undrwent during the team`s recent Europe tour.

"There are no second thoughts on how hard our players have worked throughout the training. It is indeed a very big physiological change. The team played with much more confidence. It proves that the European Tour was a constructive one with hardly any negatives," he said.

"The basic things we want to prove and focus are the change in strength and power to work more on mid field, pace and be more patient in attacks. "There is a lot of scope for improvement and we are going to refine what we have already especially the foot work and better goal scoring for the upcoming World Cup," he said.

India will leave for The Hague in May 22 and after landing at The Hague the Sardar Singh-led side will play two practice matches against South Africa and Argentina before the tournament proper begins.

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