Tag Archives: World Cup

Seven Girls In Junior World Cup Hockey Squad Are Anaemic: Michael Nobbs

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By Soumitra Bose

Ex-Aussie Olympian identifies flaws in India’s hockey system but says with scientific approach and immaculate talent spotting, the former world champions can regain the golden days.

Michael Nobbs quietly flew out of Delhi in the wee hours on Thursday before telling sports.ndtv.comthat at least seven girls in the junior India squad that won a historic World Cup bronze in Monchengladbach, Germany last Sunday were suffering from anaemia

In an exclusive chat, Nobbs congratulated the junior girls for winning India’s first World Cup medal but cautioned against a general “burnout” due to a lack of scientific and long-term diet plan in the coaching system. “I have two teenaged daughters and they are part of an Australian system that not only takes care about their skills but their health as well. India have to adopt such an approach or else, these girls from rural India would be lost forever,” said Nobbs.

“The welfare of India’s hockey has always been topmost in my mind. I am not trying to point fingers at anyone, I am just trying to say that India can do much better with proper scientific training and approach”, Nobbs said. Anaemia is a medical condition indicating iron deficiency in the body leading to tiredness and lethargy.
“It’s a very common among girls and in India it is acute. How do you expect the girls to match the healthier and stronger European girls in a world competition? Considering this, the bronze (India beat England) has been a brilliant achievement. It’s nice to give cash awards, but there is a lot to do with these kids,” said Nobbs.

The veteran coach said anaemia can be controlled with proper scientific diet and monitoring. “I was surprised to meet a dietician in SAI, Bangalore who has been working for the last 40 years without having done anything noteworthy,” Nobbs said, adding the government was simply wasting its resources.

Nobbs said India had the potential to make it big in world hockey with a scientific approach and careful talent spotting. Unlike most foreign coaches who leave on an extremely bitter note, Nobbs said he would be happy to return to India, but wasn’t sure if he would like a second innings as chief national coach. (Also read: Rani Rampal: A cart-puller’s daughter who stormed world of hockey)
The 59-year-old Australian, who resigned last month on health grounds, is flying to Perth to seek medical advice for hyper-tension before travelling to Hobart to meet his 15-year-old daughter, a hockey prodigy. Nobbs’ elder daughter is an international figure skater.

Nobbs left with mixed feelings on Indian hockey. While his deteriorating health condition – fluctuating blood pressure and hemorrhoids – forced him to stand down as national coach, the genial Australian was unhappy with several issues that threw a spanner in his work.

“I was getting cranky at small issues which I would normally overlook. I think my health was also refusing to side with me. In Holland during the world league, I thought I would die, I passed out twice and was sometimes seeing 44 players on the pitch” said Nobbs. (Suggested read: Ministry to now fund customised training for 50 sportspersons)

“I couldn’t have carried on like this and with a few things not going the way I was wanting, I think resigning was the best option. I surely wasn’t sacked. The media reported without checking the facts but that’s expected when you are doing a high-pressure, high-profile job,” said Nobbs.

Nobbs didn’t elaborate on the “few” things that irritated him but selection matters and the way players without credibility were picked to attend national camps clearly angered him. “I surely don’t want to work for Hockey India again but India have the potential to match any country in the world. It’s oozing with talent and there is no dearth in resources. I have seen this with my own eyes and there is a lot of work to be done,” he said. (Also read: Sports Minister unimpressed with CWG, Asian Games progress)

Nobbs said Hockey India’s secretary-general Narinder Batra was a man with a mission. “He surely is eager and putting in a lot of effort and money in Indian hockey. He surely is demanding and why not? But he won’t be able to do things alone. For example, if the national selectors are watching just eight games and picking talent for a national, Indian hockey is going nowhere. You are doing injustice to a great kid because his team lost in the first round,” the Australian Olympian said.

Nobbs has presented a vision statement to the Sports Authority of India, a much maligned body in India. The Aussie, on the contrary, says SAI has a big role to play and can turn things around in the country. “My understanding of SAI is that it has to be the driver. If SAI is funding Indian sport, it has the right to ask questions. That’s not happening. National federations must be answerable to SAI and I can tell you there are honest men in SAI with lot of vision,” said Nobbs.

The Australian said India badly needed a Sports Bill. “It will raise accountability. There are just too many people in the establishment who have taken things for granted. And the national bodies have to be wary about ex-players who act like advisors. The game is much more scientific now. You have to accept change to keep pace with the world,” said Nobbs.

The Aussie said the pressure will now be on Roelant Oltmans, Hockey India’s High Performance Manager, who will double up as coach in the Asia Cup in Malaysia later this month. “Roelant is a man with proven caliber. He will learn a lot in Indian hockey as I have learnt in my two years here. It won’t be easy for him but I wish him all the luck,” Nobbs said. (Related: Oltmans congratulates junior women team)

India must win the Asia Cup from August 24-September 1 in Ipoh to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague. India missed a World Cup berth after a poor show in the Hockey World League in Rotterdam recently. Only the Asia Cup winners gain a direct entry to the world championship. (Suggested read: Dhanraj Pillay says foreign coaches not the solution for team)

“India normally play well against Asian teams. We should be able to beat Malaysia, Pakistan and Korea to make the World Cup,” said Nobbs, who of course added that India are not at full strength. According to him, the absence of Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh (both dropped); S.V. Sunil and Danish Mujtaba (both injured) will be felt.

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11 Rules For Women During Cricket

Robin Choudhary lists down the rules that women should apply on themselves during cricket matches. This is for the benefit for the entire human race because we know no sex can survive without the other.

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LIST OF RULES!!
1. You should read the sport pages so you are aware of what’s going on in the world of cricket and can join the conversation with the men in your life. If you fail to do so, you will be looked at in a bad way or be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2. The television is not shared during cricket matches and the remote will strictly be in the hand of the men folk at all times without any exceptions.

3. Crawl, sit and walk, do anything but do not pass in front of the TV while the LIVE game is on. Do not distract should be your bible. During all this time please wear full clothes because just in case if you catch cold by wearing short clothes to attract, I won’t have time to take you to the doctor, or look after you during the World Cup month.

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4. During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute – unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, or pick up the baby that just fell from the second floor….It won’t happen.

5. Please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV in non match times.

6. Please, please, please if you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say “get over it, it’s only a game” or “don’t worry, they’ll win next time”. If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about cricket than me and your so-called “words of encouragement” will only lead to a break-up or divorce.

7. You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during half-time but only when the adverts are on, and only if the score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying “one” game; hence do not use the entire tournament as a nice cheesy excuse to “spend time together”.

8. Most importantly, making love is out of the question during the entire month. It has to be a ‘quickie’ and that has to be during half time as well.

9. Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related parties or gatherings that requires my attendance because:

a) I will not go,
b) I will not go, and
c) I will not go.

10. But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.

11. And finally, please save your expressions such as “Thank God the tournament is over”. I am immune to these words, because cricket is an ever-lasting affair and after one comes another tournament.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Regards,

The Menfolk

My First Press-Box Experience: Blissful

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Shashank Kishore recounts his emotional and overjoyed experience as he entered the press-box for the first time.  

Covering cricket for a living is a privilege very few of us get to enjoy, the first press box experience being the most memorable. Fortunately, I’ve have had the opportunity to report on two World Cups, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But the feeling I had when I entered the press box for the first time is something I find very tough to describe and I’ll try my best!

Having grown up watching cricket on television and in the stadium, my eyes were always on the pavilion and above, where the journalists were seated. I often imagined how it would feel like to sit there and work. When I finally had my opportunity on March 6, 2011, a sea of emotions engulfed me. Firstly, being in the presence of some of the veterans in the sports journalism world and of course getting an opportunity to interact with a few former players turned commentators. I was star-struck.

But what I also realised was, it was here that you had the liberty to share your views with your compatriots, unlike a normal cricket discussion with friends or family which bordered on which team you were supporting or who your favourite player was. And of course the networking with journalists across different organisations, their experiences and of course a few anecdotes thrown in, makes the press box a place of envy.

I remember reaching the press-box as early as 12pm for a 2:30pm start on my first day, definitely the excitement of being there got me going from very early in the morning. I also remember dressing formally for the occasion, almost as if I was inaugurating the arena, so as to create a good impression. The joy of swiping my pass and reaching the elevator hadn’t struck me yet when Sunil Gavaskar entered the elevator. To his left was another gentleman, who has played a bit of cricket. His posters adorned by wall. Something I used to wait for week after week.

Sourav Ganguly! Two legends on either side, my mind kept saying if I could ever speak to them, I could die a happy man. But I was trembling with joy and excitement, a little odd too, and that lasted all of 20 seconds as we reached the top floor from where the journalists and commentators enter their respective zones. I really needed to talk to Sourav and tell him how big a fan of him I was.

Could I do that? Remember I was a journalist representing the host broadcasters. Would it be right for me to approach him and ask for an autograph or a photograph? What would other fellow journalists think? So many thoughts crossed my mind and finally that desire evaporated. But that urge returned at the most unlikeliest of places. The loo, where I bumped into Sourav again. The most unlikely of places to shake hands, you’d think?

Soon after that, was the dinner break and obviously I felt it was rude to interrupt anyone while having dinner. And hence my dream of meeting and talking to my hero was fast evaporating. I didn’t have the pressure to do a traditional match report and send it across soon after the match and that somewhat helped me enjoy the sights and sounds of the intensity that comes along with working on a cricket match.

And as I was leaving the press box, a hand tapped me on the shoulder. It was Sourav. I didn’t know why, how. I was blank, but it was a colleague, who works closely with Sourav for a few television bytes, who went up to him and requested him if he could oblige for a photograph. But little did I know that I would have more than just a photograph. A cup of coffee past 11pm, well past dinner, along with a healthy discussion on India’s World Cup campaign, my admission to my childhood hero and of course a picture that I will cherish and treasure all my life.

In my next blog, I’ll dwell into my experiences across different press boxes. Till then, adios!