The Indian men’s hockey squad resumed training Thursday at the Balewadi hockey turf, ending six days of agitation and negotiation with Hockey India over delayed cash incentives for 2009 performances.
The 22-member squad, preparing for the 2010 Hero Honda World Cup in New Delhi next month, watched by the entire coaching staff, went through the routines.
Jogging around the turf in batches to get warmed up for training ahead, the players took breaks, mostly planned and some spontaneous when Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi arrived at the venue when the session was on. The administrator talked to the assembled boys and coaches before stepping on to the turf for dribble with Dhanraj Pillay and drag flicks into an empty net with specialist Sandeep Singh at hand for tips.
Pillay also jogged with the players for part of a lap before joining in drag flicks. The guests were accompanied onto the turf and goalmouth by television crews capturing live action, forcing the players to bide their time before serious training resumed under chief coach Jose Brasa, assistant coaches Romeo James, Harender Singh and Ramandeep Singh. The players went through regular drills like half-court play, hitting and separate training for goalkeepers using the bowling machine.
Former actress Salma Agha visited the hockey probables. She had promised to arrange a fund-raising programme for the players. Coach Brasa, talking about the plans ahead, said: “Training will be high intensity for the next two weeks. We have to move forward, there is no point in looking back.” Matches against the national men’s development squad, currently training in Lucknow, has been planned, followed by home matches against France, according to the chief coach.