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Exclusive: Fmr India trainer Harendra on India's Hockey WC fiasco

BHUBANESWAR: He’s dutifully devoted to his present position because the Leader Trainer of the USA senior males’s group, however each time Staff India will get at the hockey pitch, it is inconceivable to stay former India trainer Harendra Singh clear of the motion. In reality, the Global Cup in Odisha introduced him again nearer to the pitch the place he anxiously paced up and down and shouted as India trainer right through the 2018 Global Cup.
The ache of no longer going previous the quarterfinals in 2018 continues to be there within Harendra, and it flared up when he witnessed India giving it away within the crossover fit on January 22 this time and succumbing to the force exerted via New Zealand, who held their nerve higher within the surprising dying shootout to win 5-4 and push India out of name competition.
Harendra, who lives in California recently, used to be vital of what he noticed from the stands of the Kalinga Stadium. India let a two-goal merit slip two times when main 2-0 and 3-1, which allowed the Black Sticks not to simply come again but additionally wrest keep an eye on of the sport prior to getting into the quarterfinals.

Hockey World Cup: All that went wrong for India

Hockey Global Cup: All that went incorrect for India

Chatting with TimesofIndia.com for an in-depth research of India’s sorry marketing campaign, Harendra raised some razor-sharp questions.
How does it really feel to be again on house soil and particularly Bhubaneswar the place you may have made numerous reminiscences?
It is a privilege to be again right here at this iconic (Kalinga) stadium. Any trainer that comes right here will get the goosebumps as a result of other people right here know their hockey.
How lengthy has it been since your final discuss with right here?
After 2018, it is my first time right here. In fact, for the reason that final one and a part years I’ve moved to the USA. However I will be able to’t be clear of Bhubaneswar in terms of hockey.
Like such a lot of Indian enthusiasts, you too will have to had been dissatisfied to peer India no longer making it to the quarterfinals…
Should you inquire from me, 1.5 billion individuals are dissatisfied as a result of we had created momentum, I’d say, from the 2018 Champions Trophy (silver medal) and carried it until the Tokyo Olympics (bronze medal). However someplace after that we misplaced that momentum. We do not have fallen into the opponent’s (New Zealand) lure. However we did and paid the fee for it within the pre-quarterfinals (crossovers).

Hockey World Cup: Mixed response from fans after India failed to qualify for quarters

Hockey Global Cup: Combined reaction from enthusiasts after India did not qualify for quarters

The place do you suppose we fell brief in opposition to New Zealand?
I feel there are numerous spaces. We gained an Olympic medal in Tokyo after 41 years. That used to be ancient. However your cycle for the following Olympics begins the very subsequent day. After I noticed the Indian group that used to be introduced for this Global Cup, I used to be sceptical since the gamers who can win you video games and hang the group (in combination) had been lacking. We felt it no longer simply in opposition to New Zealand however in all of the match.
Two of the heroes of the 2016 Junior Global Cup triumph, whilst you had been the group’s trainer, had been Simranjeet Singh and Gurjant Singh. Each had been disregarded for this Global Cup. In reality, Simranjeet had revived India’s Tokyo Olympics marketing campaign as smartly after the 7-1 defeat in opposition to Australia. Did we pass over them?
We neglected gamers like Simranjeet, Sumit, Gurjant, Jugraj so much. Everyone is speaking about captain Harmanpreet Singh no longer being in shape (on drag-flicks). I do not blame him. Previous, he shared the duty (of taking penalty corners) with Rupinder Friend Singh (now retired). Right here, that deficient chap on my own had that complete duty on his shoulders. We made a incorrect resolution via appointing him the captain. He takes the penalty corners, he has to do the outletting, play a task in assault and likewise I used to be stunned to peer him within the shootout (in opposition to New Zealand). If any individual like Jugraj would had been within the group when Harmanpreet’s drag-flicks weren’t running, then the trainer may have attempted Jugraj. And if he had scored a few targets, then Harmanpreet would have felt higher. As an interloper and observer, I imagine the ones mixtures had been lacking. It used to be glaring that Harmanpreet used to be (feeling the force) at the pitch. I’ve by no means observed Harmanpreet arguing with the umpires, claiming each ball. He’s the sort of cool buyer.


(ANI Photograph)
Have been you stunned to peer 4 kids — Sukhjeet Singh, Rajkumar Friend, Abhishek and Shamsher Singh — being requested to take the shootout as a substitute of one of the crucial skilled gamers like Manpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh?
It is not about choosing the incorrect aggregate. Whilst you teach, you make a decision which will likely be the ones 5 gamers. The trainer indubitably performs a large position. However for what do you may have senior gamers with 250, 300, 400 caps? That is the time whilst you will have to step up and take duty. I used to be stunned that gamers like Manpreet and Akashdeep weren’t picked (for the shootout) or perhaps they refused, we do not find out about that. However this used to be the time when Akashdeep, Manpreet, Mandeep or even Lalit (will have to have taken the duty). Should you mix the caps of those 4 gamers, it is just about 1000. That is giant. So, force did play a task. As a trainer, I do not settle for this stuff. When you find yourself a senior, play the position of a senior.
The group wilted underneath force within the final quarter in opposition to New Zealand. Do you suppose this group wishes a psychological instructor to maintain such eventualities?
There was numerous debate over this prior to as smartly…now and again it really works, now and again no longer. It is about decision-making. We weren’t making the correct choices. We had been up 3-1, then New Zealand had been down to ten males (within the final six mins), however even then it used to be overall keep an eye on of New Zealand. How is that imaginable? That implies we need to paintings on our defence. Each and every 2d cross we had been shedding; and everytime they had been getting the ball, they went for the vertical (aerial balls). So what will have to we now have accomplished? We will have to have held onto the ball of their part reasonably than in our part. In fact, Graham Reid is a seasoned trainer. He will have to have mentioned this stuff. However why used to be there no Plan B? The group has to respond to numerous questions


(ANI Photograph)
The place does the group move from right here, as a result of you almost certainly won’t see gamers like PR Sreejesh and Manpreet on the subsequent Global Cup in 2026?
I imagine the kids will have to take their probabilities. Let’s be very vital. This used to be the most efficient alternative for them. They will have to have stepped up and delivered. I’m really not pronouncing they’ve no longer delivered however my expectation used to be greater than what they’ve delivered. My recommendation can be not to opt for a ‘primary surgical operation’; we simply require minor fixes and will have to keep centered at the Asian Video games. That is essential. Should you pass over (Olympic qualification from) the Asian Video games, it is going to be very arduous for Paris 2024.
What would your inputs be for those who had been requested for ideas after this Global Cup fiasco?
The gamers who’re out of the machine will have to be introduced again in and given some other likelihood so that there’s wholesome festival inside the team. There’s no festival in any respect you probably have simply 24-25 (gamers). Who’re the gamers which might be going to pose a problem? It is only gamers like Simranjeet. Additionally, put money into the juniors. The place are the 18 gamers we picked for the 2021 Junior Global Cup? (just one from amongst the ones 18, Vivek Sagar Prasad, is within the present Global Cup squad). Both the ones gamers had been wrongly decided on or they weren’t stored within the machine. So any individual will have to be in charge of this. It is a procedure, no longer quick espresso.

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