National women's coach, CR Kumar, wore a happy look after India beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in the final match of the four-test series. But he was at a loss to explain how the girls, lacking in fitness and struggling with a poor conversion rate, would improve before the Olympic qualifying tournament, beginning February 18.
The hosts may have won all the matches at the National Stadium, but the team's report card shows negligible improvement. The players had fumbled inside the striking circle during the invitational tournament in Argentina in December, and they continued to flounder against Azerbaijan on home turf.
This is despite the fact that the coach had fielded the best talent at his disposal on Thursday. It is learnt that with a couple of additions, the same set of players will figure in the final 18-member squad.
Given the current situation, the goal of winning a ticket to the London Games looks difficult.
But Kumar is confident the players will iron out the rough edges. "Our target (in the next four weeks) will be to sort out the grey areas," he said.
Proteas salvage pride
Coach Michael Nobbs’ boys are yet to deliver under pressure. This was evident when India lost 1-3 to South Africa in the thrid test.
Down 0-2 after the 35 minutes, India got enough opportunities to make a comeback, but failed. Nobbs admitted his players were nervous, but said it was a learning curve. “Since we are analysing the players, it is not a worrying factor,” he said.