Ric Charlesworth talks hockey, cricket - “India has discovered they don’t must observe different groups, they are often themselves”

Published:Mar 9, 202415:11
Ric Charlesworth talks hockey, cricket - “India has discovered they don’t must observe different groups, they are often themselves”

Ric Charlesworth shares an unbreakable bond with India and its hockey. Being among the many first high-profile abroad names to be concerned with Indian hockey a few decade-and-a-half in the past because the technical director, the Australian legend needed to depart the nation on a bitter observe in 2008.

However even then, he continues to observe Indian hockey intently and bats for the staff each time it hits the turf.

The 70-year-old, who shuttles between Perth and Sydney lately, can also be passionate whereas speaking about cricket. In spite of everything, being a gap batter for Western Australia, he was a member of Sheffield Defend profitable groups in 1972-73, 1976-77, 1977-78 and got here near incomes the Australian Take a look at cap through the time of World Series Cricket.

However with ‘an excessive amount of cricket’ taking place around the globe, Charlesworth doesn't observe the sport as intently as he would earlier. However on the subject of hockey, he's nonetheless a eager observer of the sport.

Within the early hours of Monday, some time after India’s T20 World Cup campaign-opening win towards Pakistan in Melbourne, Charlesworth spoke to  Sportstar on Indian hockey, the street forward and in addition touched upon the significance of enjoying a number of sports activities within the early life.

Have you ever been following the T20 World Cup?

I am going strolling with two Indian buddies within the mornings and so they observe very intently. I feel I'm a type of individuals who really feel that there’s an excessive amount of cricket taking place lately and with a lot recreation being performed throughout totally different locations, how do you observe the whole lot? (laughs).

Younger Tim David is an area boy from Perth and he performed at Scotch Faculty and his girlfriend (Stephanie Kershaw) is a hockey participant, who has represented Australia within the Olympics. So yeah, I've some curiosity as a result of I observe what’s occurring, however I don’t watch it that intently.

Earlier than pursuing hockey, you performed a good bit of cricket for Western Australia. How have been these days?

I've performed hockey for a membership which was known as the Cricketers Hockey Membership. There have been various Take a look at cricketers who performed hockey. As an example, I performed with Ross Edwards in the identical staff. Graham McKenzie, the well-known quick bowler, and Barry Shepherd additionally performed hockey. So, there was a practice. I keep in mind once I performed for Western Australia and I keep in mind someday, my picture was taken with Majid Khan, who additionally performed hockey in Pakistan. And naturally, everyone knows about Jonty Rhodes… there has all the time been a connection between the 2 sports activities.

However I really feel, lately, it's actually troublesome for individuals to play multiple sport.

However don’t you assume that at a time when health has grow to be a significant factor in each sporting self-discipline, you will need to encourage children to pursue a number of sports activities of their early life?

A lot of nice gamers throughout disciplines - tennis, cricket, golf - began very early. They've been all in favour of varied sports activities and there's no doubt that the number of sports activities that you just play and the talents that you just be taught if you end up younger finally show you how to enhance your hand-to-eye coordination. Having quite a lot of sports activities helps you enhance your flexibility and means that you can deal with new conditions. Nevertheless it additionally implies that you have to put in a variety of hours. Anders Ericsson’s ‘10000 Hour Rule’ tales have some relevance as a result of if you wish to have experience, you want to spend so much of time constructing newer pathways if you wish to grow to be excellent in sport.

Equally, if you wish to be a chess participant or play the violin or be taught arithmetic, you higher spend a variety of time doing it. You'll grow to be an knowledgeable.

You've got had an extended affiliation with Indian hockey. After going via troublesome instances, the lads’s staff went on to clinch an Olympic medal in Tokyo final 12 months. What are your ideas on the journey to date?

Once I was in India because the technical director about 14 years in the past, it was Mr KPS Gill’s time and it was fairly enigmatic with ups and downs. However I felt that Indian hockey in fact has the numbers, assets, the skilful gamers and all of the substances that you just want.

In all probability, an fascinating factor occurred in India when India gained the cricket World Cup in 1983. Hockey and cricket have been large video games in India, however cricket was privatised and hockey stayed within the public sector. In all probability that’s the explanation there was a divergence. However once I was in India 12 years in the past, I keep in mind saying that perhaps it’s a 10-year venture for India to grow to be a medallist within the main tournaments and what we noticed in Tokyo was a mirrored image of regular enchancment in high quality. A lot of it occurred as a result of Hockey India League, identical to the Indian Premier League in cricket.

It had a major function to play. The hockey gamers acquired an opportunity to play with the abroad gamers and so they finally realised that even abroad gamers had two legs and arms like them. Most of the Indian gamers elevated their perception. They all the time had the standard.

In hockey, what we've got seen is a gentle construct and each the lads’s and girls’s groups at the moment are very aggressive on the elite stage. I don’t discover any motive why this gained’t proceed. Possibly, within the subsequent 10 years, you will notice them not on the rostrum, however on the prime of the rostrum, in main competitions.

What have been the areas that have been hurting Indian hockey earlier than Tokyo heroics? And now, how difficult is it to construct on the success of the 2021 Olympics?

Within the golden period of Indian hockey, you had a variety of benefits that maybe the Europeans and we didn't have. You had centralised coaching, you had participant camps, you had semi-professionalism. Once I began enjoying for Australia, we couldn't beat groups from the sub-continent.

I used to be round at the moment. And after I ended enjoying, there have been gamers in our staff, who by no means misplaced to India or Pakistan. So, there was a whole reversal. That occurred as a result of I feel India stopped studying. Within the Thirties, Nineteen Forties or Nineteen Fifties, India have been the innovators of the sport, however I feel they acquired complacent. I gained’t blame it on the artificial pitches, as a result of these pitches really rewarded the talents of the Indian gamers.

Then, there got here a interval once they tried copying different individuals as a substitute of being themselves. Now, they're again to the section the place they really feel, ‘let’s embellish the talents that we've got, again our abilities and let different groups chase us.’ That’s a change in perspective and method which I've seen growing over the past 10-15 years. That’s reflecting on the outcomes now.

How do you see the truth that a number of state governments and the union authorities are coming ahead to help hockey? What does this backing imply for the event of the sport within the nation?

The Indian nationwide staff doing nicely naturally supplies a store window for the game. That's vital. India is altering. I went there for the primary time within the Nineteen Seventies and it’s a special place now. The center-class is rising, extra persons are wealthier and there are many alternatives to achieve sport and that’s mirrored by the truth that the groups are doing nicely. You've got tons and many proficient gamers. Once I was there, I feel there have been a few thousand gamers in centralised coaching, whereas in Australia, we simply have about a few a whole bunch. The issue for India again then was that the standard of programmes have been not so good as it's now. Constructing the standard of programmes has been important. It additionally has acquired to do with mentality. Now, India has discovered that they don’t must observe different groups and they are often by themselves. 

They've the talents, the ability, the talents. For some time, they didn't have a very good goalkeeper, however now their goalkeeping has improved. They're an all-round unit now. For some time, they'd good bits, however they didn't have the entire package deal. In at the moment’s time, if it's a must to obtain success in worldwide sport, it's a must to have the package deal. It's a bit like your cricket staff in the meanwhile the place bowling is the Achilles’ heel.

Is there an Achilles’ heel within the Indian hockey staff, too?

Up to now, they didn't defend sufficient, generally the goalkeeping was letting them down. There wasn’t fairly sufficient perception. Nonetheless this could occur and we noticed that within the remaining of the Commonwealth Video games. India is a lot better than that consequence, however issues went badly. They'll cascade generally, however it's extra of a brief situation. In soccer, there have been instances when Germany defeated Brazil by an enormous margin, these can occur often however they don’t mirror the true high quality of the members.

In the intervening time, what’s Achilles’ heel? Possibly, it’s the resilience in that type of state of affairs the place a few targets can damage. You must endure that.

Together with the lads’s staff, India’s girls’s hockey aspect has additionally improved its recreation over the previous couple of years…

The ladies’s recreation has made a variety of progress all around the world. It’s solely in 1980 that ladies first performed within the Olympics. They've a historical past of World Cups longer than that, however historically in India, it was most likely very troublesome for girls eager to play the sport. Fairly often once they acquired married, they stopped enjoying, so that you by no means had the continuity.

With extra assets within the recreation and extra alternative for girls to be extra emancipated maybe, I feel that displays a change in society and it additionally displays the rise in alternative.

So that you get younger women in addition to younger boys who aspire to be good. The success of the nationwide staff I feel is pivotal. I’ve been concerned watching the ladies over the past 12 months and I’m impressed by a lot of what they do. They nonetheless don’t have the entire package deal, however their recreation has made a variety of progress within the final decade. And the athleticism of the ladies has improved dramatically.

They all the time had the talent, the set performs are higher than they have been earlier than, the goalkeeping is now rather more strong. And whenever you put all of it collectively, then they will threaten any staff.

I feel it’s only a matter of time earlier than we discover them on the prime of the rostrum in a significant competitors - the lads or the ladies.

Nevertheless it gained’t be straightforward as a result of sports activities is turning into increasingly more aggressive now and there’s a number of different nations which are beginning to work onerous and growing and enhancing their programmes. I feel worldwide sports activities have gotten rather more aggressive. It’s a lot more durable to achieve success in hockey than it's in cricket, the place you solely have a dozen nations contending.

Let’s put it this manner, cricket is the Commonwealth Video games, whereas hockey is the Olympic Video games. As an example, our (Australia’s) males’s hockey staff has gained the gold medal within the final six Commonwealth Video games. However within the final six Olympics, they’ve solely gained as soon as. They’ve gained bronze medals a few instances, have been silver medalists, so it’s a lot, a lot more durable.

After the medal in Tokyo, expectations are excessive for the Tokyo Olympics in 2024. Going ahead, what needs to be India’s method?

If I used to be India, I’d be worrying concerning the World Cup first, that’s coming alongside in Bhubaneswar in January subsequent 12 months.

It’s step-by-step and every of those tournaments provides you extra confidence, extra perception. After we talk about the nationwide staff, it’s by no means the identical from one match to the subsequent. It’s constantly evolving. I communicate every now and then with Graham Reid, and attempt to perceive how the staff is evolving and altering. It’s a case of whenever you get to the match having all the issues that you really want working collectively. The accidents trajectory stays as it's, however then I'd count on them to be concerned in the principle video games.

It’s so shut on the prime that should you get to the semifinals, then you've got an opportunity to win a medal. And should you win a semifinal and also you’re in the principle recreation, that needs to be their intention at each match now on.

So, you are saying that the staff ought to take it by step-by-step?  

Yeah. In case you have a look at them, I don’t know what their rating is... whether or not it’s 4 or 5. However 10 years in the past, it was 10. So, step-by-step, they've climbed the rankings over that time frame, and there have been a spread of various coaches and individuals who have been concerned within the programme and so they all performed an element.

Jose Brasa was there again when I used to be teaching Australia in 2010. I feel he did a very good job. After which there was Terry Walsh, Michael Nobbs.

There’s been a spread of various individuals concerned and naturally, now Graham (Reid), who was previously my assistant. So, I feel that each one of these individuals have performed an element in growing the programme. Individuals like Harendra Singh performed a major half, was all the time there behind the scenes and working with the junior groups and the junior groups have been profitable.

That’s a part of the stepping stone that it's a must to put in place should you’re going to construct a strong programme. Now I feel, India has depth within the programme and it’s a bit just like the story in your cricket staff.

I keep in mind once I was working in Chandigarh, I had lunch someday with Greg Chappell. He was then the coach of the cricket staff and I keep in mind Chappell saying that if India will get their act collectively in cricket, they may have the 5 finest groups on the earth.

And, you understand, a few years in the past, India’s second eleven beat us (laughs). It’s not their second string in fact, however what I’m saying is a variety of younger, good gamers with little or no expertise have been adequate to compete.

So, when a sport reaches that type of depth, then you've got high quality. It’s about who you permit out slightly than having the final one or two. You count on constant dependable performances. 

You spoke concerning the Indian cricket staff with the ability to produce an enormous expertise pool. Is it the identical with Indian hockey?

I feel they’re getting near that stage. When one or two of the notable gamers have been unnoticed of the Tokyo Olympics, individuals have been saying, “Oh, how will you depart him out?” However the staff gained a medal. So, I feel, that’s the type of depth you’re now seeing.

Hockey India now has a president in former India captain Dilip Tirkey. How do you see the truth that former gamers are slowly taking over administrative roles? 

It may be good or dangerous, it relies on the standard of the particular person. Once I labored with New Zealand cricket, the CEO was former quick bowler Martin Snedden. For my part, he's the very best CEO I've seen within the sporting area. He was a succesful fellow and was a lawyer by coaching, had clever abilities, labored onerous and liked cricket. That’s the method.

Lately everyone is a CEO from enterprise aspect of issues and I'm not positive if they're the very best individuals. If Dilip has the capability to do administrative work, then he might be an excellent president.

In India, the president is fairly palms on. In some cultures, it could be a extra formal factor, however in India, the president and CEO are hands-on. I hope Elena Norman continues because the CEO as a result of she has finished an exquisite job in enhancing the game. She has performed an vital function.

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Publish date: 2022-10-24 11:41:00
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