THE return of MK Kaushik as the chief coach of the Indian women's hockey team after almost a year saw work beginning on Kaushik's own training method on Thursday itself with the beginning of a 45-day training camp for the Olympic qualifiers in April.
Reaching here on Thursday, Kaushik was straight at work along with Vasu Thapaliyal at the SAI Sub-Centre here.
The 32-odd campers had relief on their faces when they saw their favourite coach back at the helm of affairs. "I have got just 165 hours to make this team a winning side. It looks a bit tricky, but I am confident," Kaushik told HT. "In the next three days, I am going to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of every player, and from Monday we would be starting our main training," he said, adding, "The physical fitness process in the next three days is also a part of my coaching manual."
Kaushik didn't blame anyone for the team's Asia Cup disaster last year, but believed that frequent changes in coaching styles did hamper team performance. "We are going to adopt our old 5-3-2-1 playing formula again as it suits our combination, and I don't believe in putting any extra pressure on girls," said Kaushik, adding, "We are planning to nurture a specialised drag flicker, but only after analysing the strength of a few players. We have our limitations and we will try to make best use of this".
India play their first match at the qualifiers against Russia on April 19, before taking on Netherlands Antilles, Belgium, favourites USA and France.
Dipika Murthy, Marita Tirkey, Poonam Toppo, Jasdep Kaur, Binita Toppo, Suman Bala, Nilima Kujur, Joydeep Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Mukta P Barla, Subhadra Pradhan, Gagandeep Kaur, Rosalind Ralte, Asunta Lakra, TH Ranjita Devi, Mamta Kharab, Saba Anjum, Surinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur, Ritu Rani, Deepika Thakur, Binita Xess, Vertika Singh, Adline Kerketta, Rani Devi, Psuhpa Pradhan, Manorama Devi, Rijuta Mullick, Laurencia Kerketta, Simerjit Kaur, S Ranjita and Kirandeep Kaur.
MK Kaushik (chief coach), Vasu Thapaliyal (SAI coach), AB Subbaiah (goalkeeping coach)