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From Melbourne, with love

India may not be playing the Champions Trophy (CT) at Melbourne, but the country's top teams are earnestly following the action as it unfolds Down Under, reports Shubhodeep Chakravarty.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2009 23:49 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

India may not be playing the Champions Trophy (CT) at Melbourne, but the country's top teams are earnestly following the action as it unfolds Down Under.

The 20th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey tournament, which began on Saturday, has teams like the Indian Oil Corporation, Air India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Namdhari XI vying for the prestigious cup. The competition is stiff and in their bid to outwit the opposition, some of the teams have come up with the idea of drawing lessons from the Champions Trophy, which features powerhouses like the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and South Korea.

“I follow as many matches as possible. There is a lot to learn from teams like Australia, be it their passing or flawless finishing,” said N.S. Saini, coach of Punjab National Bank (PNB), who drew with South Central Railway on Monday mainly because of the “counter defensive” strategy that negated Railways' fast flowing game.

An example was PNB midfielder Yudhvir changing positions to shake off his marker, much like Australia’s Des Abott during their 4-0 rout of Korea on Saturday. It might be lopsided to compare the standards, but coaches are hard at work to replicate the action in CT.

There is, however, a conscious effort to avoid blind duplication. “Each team is different. For instance, the daily calorie intake of Aussies is higher than our boys. A customized coaching approach is necessary,” said Ramesh Parmeshwaran, coach of Indian Oil.