What took Nobbs so long to realise we weren't world class? | Sports | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Courting the closet
    July 6, 2013
    Is it only in team games that men fear being ostracized if they reveal they are gay?
  • Lebron, born again and again
    June 29, 2013
    He may lack the grace of a Michael Jordan, but the lumbering LeBron James is a champion of the people.
  • Double fault by man, ego
    June 29, 2013
    What was it that caused Roger Federer to exit this year's Wimbledon in such feckless fashion?
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Sport

What took Nobbs so long to realise we weren't world class?

|


SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Sardar Singh (left) had to make up for Sandeep Singh's inadequacies

The defeat by Belgium was the ultimate humiliation. Though macho pride prevented an aging former Olympic gold medalist from admitting as much, his wife told this writer the morning after that he spent a sleepless night. There must have been many others who shared the nightmarish experience of the proud man from a generation of hockey stars now in the autumn of their lives.

The promise which the Michael Nobbs coached Indian hockey team showed in the New Delhi qualifier proved far too exaggerated, as its dismal performance was to show in the London Olympics - so embarrassingly dismal that it left India, a country with a history of winning eight Olympic gold medals, struggling to avoid ending last of the 12 teams in the competition.

So what went wrong? Nobbs in one of his statement from London had said that there were few world class players in the Indian team. Right he no doubt was. But it took him so long to arrive at that assessment? As a longtime hockey watcher, yours truly has no hesitation in stating that, barring one or two, the majority of players who wore the India colours on the blue hockey pitch at London could hardly have found a place in any leading state or club team of a few decades ago. Their calibre is far below that of players of earlier generations of Indian players. Ask the Harbinders, the Harcharans, the Ajitpals, the Balbirs, the Inams, the Ashok Kumars, the Zafar Iqbals and their likes. If they have not openly said as much it's only because they did not wish to hurt the morale of the present Indian team.

So ordinary is the calibre of the present generation of players that you can't imagine them playing for teams like Punjab, Bombay, Bhopal or Uttar Pradesh, Railways, Services, Railways, Indian Airlines or the Combined Universities of old. Not even some leading club teams of earlier years would have been eager to recruit them. Hockey talent had been steadily been scarcer and scarcer, and the sources from where it emerged kept drying up. Yet those who administered the game were not alarmed enough to do something about it.

What's worse, two rival bodies, claiming to control Indian hockey, added to the confusion. At least two leading players of the team which did duty in London, returned to the 'fold' intimidated with career-threatening suspensions. On the heels of the qualifier came the World Series Hockey supported by the Indian Hockey Federation, a 'rebel' competition which the selectors of Hockey India, entrusted with the task of choosing the players for London, chose to ig nore. Shamelfully, the warring bodies have not been able to rise above their differences.

For all the preparations that Nobbs' players made in the run-up to London they looked stragglers blundering their way from one match to another. This is the worst finish by an Indian team in Olympic hockey, though India has experienced the humiliation of a last place finish in a World Cup. That was in the 1986 World Cup in England. The future seems bleak unless a miracle takes place somehow.

Reader's opinion (2)

Srinivasan Anand GAug 14th, 2012 at 21:18 PM

WIN the Champions Trophy,2012 to be held in Australian in December,2012. Thats the way forward.If not, reallocate resources from hockey to boxing, wrestling, shooting etc. Send hockey team to Rio Olympics in 2016 only if they win Champions Trophy or World Cup.

Srinivasan Anand GAug 14th, 2012 at 18:12 PM

There is no use blaming Michael Nobbs or rival hockey bodies. That the players would not qualify to play for any club also is not the issue. They should lack of pluck and fight. They were scared of the big rival players and did not tackle them. They displayed no pride in wearing India colours.

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service