Friday, December 11, 2009


Calcutta: Each and every team have its own tactical philosophy and tinkering with that doesn’t augur well, feels India’s Olympic gold winning captain and former coach Vasudevan Baskaran.

Baskaran, who was in the city to watch his son Laxman Karan turn out for Southern Railway in the Beighton Cup, says that India’s Spanish coach Jose Brasa is trying to change the Indian style of play and it’s not going to work.

“I have utmost respect for Brasa who guided the Spanish women’s team to gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. But Spanish style of hockey is a defensive one while the Indians love attacking. The skill level of any Indian player is at par with the best in the world. So one shouldn’t curb their natural flair for attacking. That is why Ric Charlesworth was a far better option for Indian players as Australians believe in aggressive play,” Baskaran told The Telegraph on Thursday.

“I find it difficult to digest the fact that skilful players like Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandekar or Arjun Halappa are being forced to play a defensive game. It’s not their natural game. It’s like asking a Bhaichung Bhutia to play as a stopper or making Sachin Tendulkar bat at No. 8,” Baskaran quipped.

Baskaran is also unhappy with the fact that drag-flicker Sandeep Singh has not been used sparingly in the recent times.

“I would have been happy had Sandeep been rested for the Champions Challenge in Argentina. He is one of our key players. If the injury turns out to be a serious one, we may just miss him during the World Cup next year which will be unfortunate,” he said.

Ask him about India’s chances in the World Cup, where they will be enjoying home advantage, Baskaran tries to be realistic.

“We are still not in a position to beat the Netherlands and Australia consistently. So our main aim would be to focus on remaining in the top six. That will be a creditable finish,” he added.

As the discussion veered towards India lacking too many drag-flick specialists, he comes up with the idea of having a talent hunt.

“I read in the paper that Ashok Dinda came into prominence when he won a fast bowling contest (Dinda came second in that particular contest in 2004 clocking 138 kmph on the speedometer). Why don’t we have such a contest for drag-flick specialists? There are plenty of talented boys across India,” he signed off.