Special Correspondent

  • A psychologist is needed to work on the hockey players' conviction
  • India needs forwards who pack a punch

    MUMBAI: M Somaya, former India captain and hockey Olympian, stressed upon the need for a psychologist to complement the foreign physical trainer's efforts towards World Cup hockey preparations.

    "Getting a trainer from Australia (Derek Knox) to work on fitness was a wise move. A psychologist is needed to work on the boys' conviction, make them think about trying to win tournaments," he said, while speaking at the National Sports Seminar, part of the Tata Indian Sports Journalism Awards 2006 organised by the Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI).

    Fed Cup coach Enrico Piperno, BCCI executive secretary Ratnakar Shetty, Ogilvy & Mather chairman Piyush Pandey and TAM Media CEO L.V. Krishnan were the other speakers at the event.

    Robust forwards

    Somaya reasoned that robust forwards who can carry the ball the length of the field and finish strongly were required for India to make an international impact, specifically at the forthcoming World Cup.

    "After the combination of Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh attacking in tandem with the experienced Dhanraj Pillay was broken up, India needs forwards who pack a punch. Hockey is a forwardline sport now."

    He pointed out that Indian teams need leadership. "Coach V. Baskaran is a leader. We need to develop a leader on the field, who alongside Dilip Tirkey will guide the boys. The Indian team requires a sort of brains trust when taking on sides like Germany which plays the tactical game."

    Instinctive player

    Enrico Piperno, national women's coach, spoke about tennis achiever Sania Mirza, with whom he worked with in early years. "Sania has the talent to be in world's top 20. Certain aspects of her game need to be worked on. She plays instinctively, like Leander does. You can't rely on instinct alone in international tennis, you get found out after weeks on the circuit," said Piperno.

    Referring to her switching coaches from John Farrington, Asif Ismail to S. Narendranath now, the Fed Cup coach noted, "a senior coach who can guide her on tour is better than opting for hitting partners whom she is comfortable with. Farrington was a good choice, senior and experienced. Sania is a very confident woman, her game has to fall into place. I hope she gets a Grand Slam title."

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