But with the Indian team delivering their worst-ever performance at hockey’s showpiece event, all the demerits of it are coming out of the closet and that too, in droves.
Our defensive gaffes were just too many for our comfort so much so that every opposition team now fully realized that this Indian team can be taken apart because their defence has the propensity to consistently falter.
I was shocked to see someone as experienced as Ignace Tirkey (254 international caps) commit schoolboyish blunders in defence, and that too, with alarming regularity. Even Sandeep Singh was guilty of easily conceding possession. Vokkaliga Raghunath was also part of the guilty party but one must say that, he was the only one who showed some heart to offer some resistance.
Given Sandeep’s senior stature in the side, another talented drag-flicker Vokkaliga Raghunath was not getting enough opportunities to fire his PCs in. Maybe, Raghunath should be given a bigger role in taking penalty corners and lets face it; his defensive skills are far better than Sandeep and this would help India as the strapping defender can execute both skills with aplomb.
The muted apprehension of the Indian forwards’ poor finishing reared its ugly head at London. The only significant change in the forwardline’s performance was that they created another liability for the team – not creating enough scoring chances coupled with their already established tag of being 'poor finishers'.
SV Sunil captures the attention of all with his ‘Cheetah’ like runs but does very little beyond that. Tushar Khandekar shoned in patches but as a senior pro, he was expected to deliver much more than that. It’s difficult to see the international careers of the triumvirate spanning longer, especially Shivendra and Tushar.
Michael Nobbs has been hired for a period of five years and he should be allowed to serve his coaching tenure so that he can sow the seeds that can transform India into a world-beater.