The reports and results from Amstelveen, where the Champions Trophy was held recently, are only further proof that we have to restructure our hockey format drastically if Indian hockey has to survive in the world.

Yes, we still do play lovely hockey. Our skills remain unmatched. But this is hardly enough to win tournaments or titles. The accent has gradually shifted from stick work to speed, stamina and size. Hence the total domination of the Europe nations.

While we and in this context one can also include Pakistan

can hold our own and even dominate a game for 10 or 15 minutes the reversal in trend becomes inevitable as the match progresses. The results then become all too predictable.

We have to find and build stronger and fitter players. But before that we have to acquire artificial surfaces. This is imperative, or else we will be putting the cart before the horse. It makes little sense to blame the team or individual players if their total lack of conditioning on artificial surfaces is exposed in every tournament.

Or else we will have the unhappy and even humiliating scenario of the sixth nation for major tournaments being decided between the two countries which ruled hockey for over a century India and Pakistan.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 31, 1987