Even as the men’s team battles for crumbs at the ongoing World Cup in the Netherlands, Hockey India has decided to set up an evaluation committee to look into the team’s dismal performance.
India plays Korea in the play-off for 9-10 places on Saturday, a finish lower than its previous performance (India finished eighth in 2010 at home).
The 11-member committee will be called the ‘Team, Coaching and High Performance Evaluation Committee’, and will comprise several former players including Ajit Pal Singh, Balbir Singh, Ashok Kumar, S.S. Grewal, Jagbir Singh, A.B. Subbaiah, Samir Dad, Harbinder Singh, B.P. Govinda and an SAI representative.
Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra will chair the committee.
The committee will hold discussions and seek presentations between June 30 and July 2 from chief coach Terry Walsh, high performance director Roelant Oltmans and scientific advisor Mathew Eyles. Batra will also discuss the team’s performance with captain Sardar Singh.
While Batra admitted that the performance at the World Cup left a lot to be desired, he ruled out any discussion on the future of the team management. That may, however, come up later, depending on the outcome of the discussions, with Batra indicating that he was not averse to making drastic changes.
“We should only be thankful to the team goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh that we did not finish at the bottom of the pool to play for 11th and 12th positions,” Batra said.
He added that the committee would not be a one-off affair. “It will evaluate all events from now on, and visit coaching camps. So far, there have only been oral assurances from both sides on progress being made. But now on there will be proper, regular evaluation and accountability,” he said.
Batra also sought copies of all the requirements made by Oltmans and Walsh ahead of the World Cup, with detailed responses on the support provided by the federation.
Interestingly, most of the members of the new committee are either part of the defunct high performance development committee constituted by HI in April last year, or the national selection committee.
“There will also be questions asked of B.P. Govinda and Harbinder Singh on the team selection. There will be demand for constructive opinions from the committee members.
“It will be a comprehensive assessment of what exactly is wrong with Indian hockey — whether it is the team management, the federation, the system or the players. If, despite all the changes being made, we still finish only ninth, what is the point?” Batra said.
To be discussed during the meetings are a) detailed analysis of the team’s build-up to World Cup, b) assessment of video sessions during training and at the tournament, c) match strategies discussed during the games, d) preparations and actual application of game-plan for penalty corners and e) detailed analysis of every players’ fitness, during training and at the World Cup.
Oltmans, Walsh and coaches M.K. Kaushik and Sandeep Sangwan will be asked to give their reports on the team while the latter duo will also have to explain their specific responsibilities during the build-up and at the World Cup.