India wins Asia Cup...What now?
Roger Federer was not the only one to win 7 back-to-back matches during the last fortnight. Indian men did the same in winning the Asia Cup Hockey tournament; beating South Korea 7-2 in the final. Although - as is obvious from the name of the tournament - the top hockey teams were not competing and Pakistan had sent an experimental second string side, it is definitely a positive for Indian hockey. More than the trophy, it is the string of 7 victories that should encourage the optimists. We have often found Indian teams from the recent past messing up against lesser opponents. Also impressive was the relentless goal scoring against the minnows because as much as you are expected to win there, its very easy to lapse into indifference in these games;it is a test of a teams' hunger for goals. I sincerely hope that this victory is an indication of things to come. However, I would not be surprised if it isn't - just like so many other times in the recent past when Indian hockey has looked to be on an upswing;only to subsequently fall by the wayside. The teams were played around with, clutch players were mysteriously "rested" and all these resulted in the entire momentum being destroyed in a matter of months.The IHF could do better by being a bit transparent about its policies and procedures. So that we wouldn't have to speculate about the answers to some obvious questions. Why is Gagan Ajit Singh out of the Indian team? That too despite being the highest scorer in the PHL and having scored 8 goals in 5 matches in the Dutch league. How come players like Deepak Thakur are higly in demand in the German League (he has been signed up by the Stutgaart Kickers along with Viren Rasquinha and VS Vinaya) but do not find a place in the Indian National team? How is Sandeep Singh making news in Germany while the Indian team plays the Asia Cup? What has the IHF done for Jugraj Singh's full recovery? These and many questions bother the Indian hockey follower. Only when these questions are answered and other such issues addressed, is the game going to re-emerge from the muck that it is in, right now. Indian Hockey needs to come out of murky waters and breathe in some fresh air. For that we need lungs. Gills wont do. -BBS