"They pray and have tea before the match and we don’t do any such thing. Otherwise players in Europe and India prepare in the same manner."
The innocuous-sounding statement from Dutch international Balder Bomans could be construed in two ways — either as an indication of a foreigner’s view of the Indian way of doing things, or that habits picked up during their developmental days affect Indian players later in their career.
It is not the lone difference that Bomans has picked up in his second season with the Premier Hockey League. Among other things, the 23-year old attacking midfielder with Chandigarh Dynamos feels there is lesser emphasis on season training and too much attacking, which he says sometimes is “naïve”. The other foreign player with Dynamos is Bomans’ Dutch teammate Timo Bruinsma.
Bomans feels Indian players are skilful but lack technical knowledge. “We are here to give our best and pick up some good things from the Indian system. We are enjoying our stay here and gaining experience.”
However, asked about the under utilisation of foreign players by some of the coaches and the tendency of Indian players to pass among themselves, the duo was diplomatic, saying it was for the foreign players to integrate with the teams’ system and make their presence felt.
Both Bomans and Bruinsma feel that the PHL should be integrated with the international season so that foreign players reach India early and get more time to practice.
“That way both the coach and other players would know of our abilities and can make use of them,” said Bruinsma, who is in India for the first time and took field for just five minutes in the Dynamos’ 0-1 loss to Sher-E-Jalandhar on Friday.
The two Dutch players said the system here was so different that they don’t give much tactical inputs. “Sometimes we feel things could be done in a different way but we keep it to ourselves. They have grown in a system and it is very difficult to change.”