Chennai: India have had a glorious run in hockey in recent months. But the big test of course is the world cup next month. The probables have been sweating it out in Chennai at a camp since the last few months but a lack of resources for the hockey federation has cost the team the chance of doing some vital home work. The Indian hockey team's strategy for the 2002 Hockey World Cup has already suffered a dent. While other World Cup teams had sent a representative to make notes on the ongoing six-nation invitation tournament in Malaysia, a communication gap between the federation and the team resulted in India missing out almost half the tournament. Three teams - Japan, Australia and Malaysia - in this event are from India's pool in the World Cup. "Unfortunately this was a mix up. We have just sent assistant coach Kumar to watch the rest of the matches," said KPS Gill, president of the Indian Hockey Federation. The hockey team's official sponsor Castrol has earmarked about Rs 3.5 crore over a three-year period. But this seems far from adequate to impart world class training to the boys. "If we have to send the boys to Malaysia to play under floodlights, which would be the ideal thing to do, it will cost us about a lakh a day. So we are talking about 35 lakhs for a single exposure. Not many people realise these things," says Gill. "Penalty corner conversion has improved. But our main problem is missing chances. European teams that get a chance bang it in. We get six chances and bang only one in," says Muneer Sait, former Olympic medallist. The selection of the team which was to have been finalised in Chennai has now been postponed to the third week of February, a few days before the World Cup beginning in Kuala Lumpur on the 24th, which means the players will continue to be on their toes.
Topics : Hockey