Hockey in India
The World cup Hockey has given a great fillip to the sport in India. The average sports lover discovered that Hockey is alive and can be exciting. The slightly more evolved sports fan got an opportunity to see truly outstanding Hockey.
The threats by Al Qaida were psychological deterrents in the early part of the tournament. But as the tournament progressed, we saw enthusiasm picking up and the crowds in the stadium were as vociferous as possible even when India was not playing. For some inexplicable reason,Germany was a particular favourite of the crowd. In the stadium, I heard ecstatic cries of ‘Deutschland’ whenever Germany touched the ball in their matches.
The Australians were fast and skilful. The Germans displayed tremendous organization. The Brits were the surprise package. The Dutch showed power and excellent long-range passing Hockey.
The Indians played Hockey with excellent dribbling in patches. But the lack of consistency and weak technical skills did not enable them to progress to the last four. Nevertheless it was a creditable performance from the Indians.
The kids enjoyed it thoroughly and for once Hockey and not Man U became the topic of conversation for most kids. The newspapers devoted two pages everyday to the matches but on 12th when IPL started, and the tournament had reached the climax with the last four stages, I found Hockey relegated to a barely noticeable part of the sports page.