May 27, 2012

Five things I learnt from India vs Great Britan

Still not the answer to India's defensive problems
A 62nd minute goal by Nick Catlin destroyed all hopes of India’s comeback as India lost to Great Britain 3-2 in 3rd game played today in 21st edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Indian team started the game slowly defending deep and Great Britain capitalized the opportunity and scored 2 first half goals to out India on back foot. Indian team started second half on a strong note and scored two goals but goal by Nick Catlin destroyed all hopes of the Indian team. Here are the five things that I learnt form India vs Great Britain.

1.There is no answer to India’s defensive problems

Despite being a brilliant coach, Michael Nobbs is unable to solve Indian defensive problems. Since the retirement of Dilip Tirkey, Indian team has not found any defenders and Coach Nobbs is experiencing same problems. In today’s game too Indian defence let the team down and conceded 3 soft goals in the game. Sandeep and Raghunath are not even decent defenders and Manpreet Singh who impressed in last game against Korea conceded 2 penalty corners. Time and again GB attack was able to break Indian defence. No doubt Indian team kept GB at bay till 27th minute but it was due to whole 11 players getting behind the ball. GB put Indian team under so much pressure that Indian defence finally broke and started making mistakes. But with just 60 days to go for the Olympics, Michael Nobbs will now have to have to use all his time to find a decent defender.

2.Specialist not flexibility is needed by Indian team

Due to hamstring injury Shivendra Singh was ruled out of the tournament and he was replaced by defender Rupinder Pal Singh. It is true that this is era of flexible hockey where each player should be flexible and should be able to play in more than one position but Indian structure is not designed in this way. In India, it is rare that one player is able to play in more than one position. So Coach Nobbs needs to stop experimenting and start playing position specific players in the team. If the team’s main striker is injured, and ruled out of the game, you cannot substitute that player with a defender. Rupinder Pal Singh missed two clear chances which any other striker would have easily taken and scored the goal. Coach Michael Nobbs need to stop doing experiments with just 60 days for the Olympics and stick to India’s strengths and flexibility is surely not one of them.

3.Over confidence in penalty corners

I would have never ever dreamed of this from the Indian team but watching today’s game was shocked to see what happened during penalty corners. After the ball was released no Indian player entered the striking circle to hit on rebound, Indian team was so sure that Sandeep or Raghunath would score that they did not even enter the D to take the rebound. Coach Nobbs should put some sense in the players and ask them to focus on the game and not take anything granted. The coach might shake it off as a one off incident but in long term is surely going to hurt the Indian team.

4.Still going Solo

One another problem of Indian team is that the players do not pass the ball. The commentators today, which included Malaysian Junior coach said one problem ailing Asian teams is that Asian teams do not pass the ball and go for glory themselves, and today we saw the example of this against Great Britain. In the game Indian team thought that they could single handedly beat the whole GB defence and score the goal. Strikers Sarvanjit Singh, midfielder Sardar Singh and others did not pass the ball when required and lost the ball at crucial places which gave advantage to the team. The Indian Great Britain team had nearly 65% of the possession due to this problem. In the last minutes despite putting out impressive performance Indian team was unable to string more than 3 passes. Coach Nobbs wants India to play its old attacking Indian style of hockey but this habit of going solo and acting as a RAMBO has to change.

5.Only goals can motivate India to play well

Indian team was subdued till for first 55 minutes of the game and with one goal in 56th minute of the game changed the attitude of the game and with that goal Indian team looked lively and threatened the Great Britain defence. When Indian team conceded the second goal, the body language of the players was pretty bad with shoulders dropping and play going wayward but with first goal by Raghunath, Indian team was back in the mood and started creating chances. With the first goal Indian team was more confident and when it became 2-2, and confidence oozing from the players, there was a chance that Indian team will the game. But once again India conceded the goal in the 62nd minute and Indian team and the attitude changed again. Indian team needs to have same confidence for the whole 70 mins if it wants to win the game. Indian team needs to have same kind of attitude (which was displayed in 56th to 62nd minutes) throughout the game and surely India would have beaten Great Britain.

India will face host Malaysia tomorrow, and hope that India learns from the mistakes and does well. India still has a chance of reaching the finals of the tournament provided India wins every game. With the type of attitude shown today, though in patches, India surely has the ability to reach the finals

1 comment:

  1. Ghosh !! have u done phd in Indian Hockey ???

    Well written and well researched...get into real research ...u will do wonders ..