Baskaran urges Railways to aim higher
By Ashok Venugopal | Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2017 02:04 AM |
CHENNAI: When V Baskaran was chief coach the national hockey team, he would make it a point to see all matches of the MCC-Murugappa tournament. He believed it was a platform to spot talent.
Even now, the tournament is close to his heart, as he is also a member of organisers Madras Cricket Club (MCC). He believes Hockey India missed an excellent opportunity to spot talent.
“The tournament has been good so far. I wish Hockey India used this for talent hunt. You see players perform over four-five days. This will give a correct picture about skills, strategy, stamina and fitness,” opined the captain of the 1980 Olympic champion Indian team.
Of the teams in fray, Indian Railways has been impressive, but a far cry from the days when it boasted of several Olympians. “So far, only Railways have impressed me. The reason being the good system adopted by the players. But still, the talent level is nowhere near the times we played. It has come down. Railways should recruit players at a higher level because the sports policy followed now doesn’t focus on that,” said Baskaran, who retired as Sports Officer of the Railways.
Several young players are playing in the tourney, but Baskaran is impressed by VR Raghunath. “Honestly, most of the players I saw didn’t impress me with anything special. The only player who has excelled is Raghunath (Bengaluru), who showed his class in converting penalty corners,” observed Baskaran.
“His (Raghunath) retirement from big hockey is his decision and we have to respect it. But my sincere advice would be he should start training under-14 players, which is missing in our coaching system. He is the right man to groom talent at the grassroots.”
Baskaran felt the Indian team has potential but lacks consistency. “If all players play 80 per cent of their potential in every game, then there is a chance of us getting closer to 1-4 in world rankings,” he signed off.