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Kaushik Column
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MK Kaushik Column: Teams were rusty (1/15/2013)
--M.K. Kaushik
MK Kaushik: Teams were rusty, and it is understandable

This is a first match of the Hockey India League. The match provided exciting spectacle, and it is good for hockey. Am happy so many people turned over to stadium, and this kind of mass support is essential for hockey to come up. Am happy this happened in Delhi in the opening match. Teams win and lose, the gainer is always spectators.

undefined Hockey India League had its auction only a months ago, and the team members started coming only a week ago. This is a quick-silver preparation for any tournament, and it is better the coaches and players are given more time to team preparation. Shortcomings in such situation are expected, and those were galore in the yesterday’s encounter between home team, Delhi Waveriders and Jaypee Punjab Warriors.

Honestly speaking, both the teams lacked proper coordination among players. Individual game was to the fore. As a coach I can understand why this has happened. The time was short for the players to understand and cope up with each other, and gel as a cohesive unit. In fact, a couple of days practice is too short for any coach to form a team, especially in high-voltage competition such as HIL We should not forget the fact that each HIL team has players from 5,6 countries and each player will have his own habitual hockey ingrained in them.

Nevertheless, this is an area where the teams have to focus. The top players including captains of both sides committed mistakes. Penalty corners could not be converted. That way the teams were rusty to the hilt.

Delhi seemed to have an edge over Punjab right from the word go, especially in terms of defense but forward-line of Punjab was stronger than Delhi. Then what made the difference in the ultimate result. Simple. The superb performance by the Delhi goalkeeper Jacobi that helped the team collect full five points. He was wonderful yesterday, and some of the tackles he made in one to one situation were treat to watch.

undefined What went wrong for Punjab? Not much, but the difference between two goalies. It is as simple as that. I think in terms of statistics, both the teams were on par with each other. The exceptional performance of the Delhi goalkeeper sealed the match for Delhi.

I also have a few things to suggest for both teams. I want to see better cooperation among the team members. Indian and foreign players should play as a team and maintain the level of hockey that is expected out of HIL.

I think, as the days will wear on, they will do

Note: MK Kaushik is Olympic gold medalist, former Chief Coach of both Indian men and women national teams.

As told to Tazeen Qureshy.

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