Walsh departure won’t impact hockey team: Selector Harbinder

New Delhi, Jan 14:

Indian hockey selector Harbinder Singh Wednesday said the departure of Terry Walsh as India’s chief coach will not have any impact on the team’s fortunes.

File pic
File pic

Walsh demanded an improved contract after masterminding India’s 2014 Asian Games gold at Incheon.

Walsh wanted a contract that would provide him better functional autonomy in the team’s decision-making, most notably in selection of the players.

But he and the Hockey India (HI) failed to reach an agreement and Walshi resigned in October last year.

“I don’t think it will have any impact. A player trains under various coaches throughout his career and he learns from each of them and moves ahead,” Harbinder said.

“Similarly, the national team will also move ahead from this episode. Someone else will take over and the players will further improve. We are on the right track,” he said.

“We all saw how the team performed in the Champions Trophy. They played serious hockey there and could have claimed a bronze,” Harbinder said.

India finished fourth in the tournament, getting beaten by Australia in the 3rd-4th classification match.

However, Harbinder, member of the 1964 Olympic gold medal-winning team, pointed out that the Sardar Singh-led side were successful last year and the Australian coach fully deserves credit for it. Indian team also won the silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Obviously, the team did reasonably well under him. Last year was a very successful year for Indian hockey. We won the Asian Games after 1998. He certainly deserves the credit for it,” Harbinder, who was also part of the bronze medal-winning team in 1972 Olympic team, said.

The selector also said India’s qualification to the 2016 Rio Olympics, two years ahead of the Games, will help the team in numerous ways.

“We will not feel the pressure of playing qualifying tournaments at the end. We can try out various combinations and compositions that will benefit the team in the longer run.”

Harbinder stressed the need to organise hockey tournaments in schools. IANS

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