The Commonwealth Games organisers yet again came in for sharp criticism from participating nations for scheduling hockey matches in searing heat with Australian coach Ric Charlesworth on Saturday terming the fixture as "crazy".
Charlesworth slammed the organisers after the world champions sweated to overcome a spirited Pakistan 1-0 win in a Pool A match on Saturday with the mercury rising above 32 degree celcius at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Expectedly, both the teams felt the heat, as Australia edged past Pakistan by a solitary goal with Chris Ciriello netting home from a penalty corner, which was enough to irk Charlesworth.
"The heat played a big factor today. It was very tough. It was difficult for the guys to play under such hot conditions. The semi-finals will be played at 11 am in the morning and I think it is crazy," the Australian hockey legend said after his side sailed into semifinals from Pool A with still a match to play against Malaysia.
"The Commonwealth Games is a very important tournament for us as there is huge expectations in Australia. But we are playing four matches in five days and it is really difficult for the guys to play under such hot conditions," Charlesworth said.
Coming into the tournament the Kookaburras had hardly any time to prepare themselves for the adverse playing conditions, but Charlesworth said his players are fit enough to overcome such issues and win their fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold.
"We had very little time after Champions Trophy so we did not do anything specific to counter the heat. But I think we have enough fitness to counter these situations," he said.
Interestingly, he is not the only one to complain about day matches as Pakistan's foreign coach Michel van den Heuvel too feels that the scheduling could have been better.
"If you have a closer look at the schedule there are some strange things. Some elements in the schedule are not right but one can't help as it has been approved," Heuvel said.
The players, who are the main sufferers of the poor scheduling, too said that it was very difficult to sustain the entire 70 minutes under such sweltering conditions.
"The conditions were very hot. It was very tough to play with the same momentum. Luckily we defended well against Pakistan," said Australia's co-captain Fergus Kavanagh.
His teammate and veteran Mark Knowles added, "It was difficult today but we knew we have to face such weather conditions."