|Indian Hockey Wizard Major Dhyan Chand (1905 – 1979)|
India taught modern Field Hockey to the World. Indian Hockey had seen glorious days right from the Olympics in 1928. Winning the Gold in all the six consecutive Olympics (from 1928 to 1956) had become a habit, nay second nature to the Indian Team. The Indian men’s field hockey team is the most successful team in Olympic history with 8 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals.
Apart from the immortal and mercurial Major Dhyan Chand (considered to be the greatest hockey player of all time and known as the Wizard for his superb ball control), budding hockey players were born and trained to become all-time greats from the cradles of Indian Hockey – Coorg, Punjab and Pune.
As it happens with all top teams, Indian Hockey also lost its sheen gradually and started to lose ground to upcoming teams like the Europeans – the intelligent Germans and the strong Dutch. The attacking Indian 5-3-2-1 formation was countered successfully by the defensive combination and the Olympics and World Champions started tasting defeat.
The result was that the ‘National Game’ (According to an RTI reply, India has no national game) took a back seat and Cricket started gaining in popularity. The masses, whose only sporting entertainments included Hockey, were earlier glued to the then ubiquitous All India Radio, for quenching their thirst by consecutive victories in International Hockey. Subsequent successive defeats in Hockey and the steady rise of Cricket weaned away interest in the former and generated a new wave of enthusiasm in the Gentleman’s Game.
The falling stars of Hockey and the rising fortunes of Cricket and the advent of bigwigs in the administration of Cricket saw Cricket reaching great heights, especially since Team India won the World Cup in 1983. Ever since then, Indian Cricket went from strength to strength, and in spite of the controversies of Match Fixing, Cricket dislodged Hockey from the No. 1 Game in India.
Since the famous victory over the sledgers and once mighty Australians in the Tests [though the records say otherwise] and in the limited form of cricket (ODI); the incredible and sensational triumph over arch and traditional rivals Pakistan in the first edition of the World Twenty 20 Championship, and the conquest over Sri Lanka in the 2011 ODI World Cup Final, Cricket began a Golden Period in the history of Indian Games, to the unfortunate but anticipated detriment of Indian Hockey.
Indian Hockey has seen its worst days, and thanks are due in large measure, to the interference of Politics in Sports, especially in Hockey. Introduction of Astroturf and the migration of many hockey-playing Anglo-Indians to Australia coupled with the rise in India’s cricket fortunes have been major contributors to Hockey’s decline. When India gets to its winning ways once again, it will directly result in enhanced popularity for the Sport, and will attract better sponsorship, leading to promotion of Hockey. A cascading effect will be pumping of more money into the Game, subsequently more monetary rewards for the Players, like Cricketers.
Given the present state of affairs it is mired in, the only way that Indian Hockey can move is UP since, “A man, who is down below, need fear no fall”.
India has the capability to win. We have outstanding individuals who can fuse together into a fighting unit. What we lack is the Killer Instinct, which will motivate all the players to decimate the opposition, whatever be the level of the competition.
The Indians should be proud to don the India Colours, and must remember that they are playing for India, and are Indians First, Second and Last. The Captain should be a Visible Captain. He must Lead, and Lead from the Front.
All the members of the Team, including the Players, Reserves, Physio, Coach and the Administrators MUST support and encourage the Team to excel. The Role of each Player should be well defined and he must fill that role to his 100%.
Finally, the Players should keep their eyes on the ball, always. We may lose a few battles, but We Must Win The War.
India Can Do It!
India Must Do It!!
India Will Do It!!!
India Better Do It!!!!
B.E. Mech. (COEP, Pune); P.G.D. – International Trade (IIFT, New Delhi)
Alumnus – Loyola High School, Pune (India)
Special Correspondent (Western India) – Dwarka Parichay Newspaper
Independent Creative Writer & Marketing Consultant
Higher Education Counselor for Statements of Purpose (SOP)
& Essays for International Scholarships