Triumph and Trauma of a Coach
M. K. Kaushik with K. Arumugam
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|In India, we specialise in the art of humiliating the
few people who are able to deliver world class performances. Our officials
have this sadistic pleasure in crushing the self-esteem of our performers,
be they players or coaches.
Till this is stopped, we will continue to have endless debates on why as a country, India is unable to achieve sporting excellence.
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"The most absurd and corrupt decision taken by the Indian Hockey Federation is M. K. Kaushik's dismissal as the coach of the Indian hockey team, only a few days after his team's gold medal winning performance in the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok in December 1998.
Even on the night of the celebrations, on December 19, 1998, when the euphoric Indian hockey team returned to the Games village, Kaushik had the foresight and pragmatism to predict his own sacking.
I had not believed him that night when he said, "I will not be retained as the Indian team coach because I am too forthright and outspoken in my interaction with the IHF."
How true his words turned out to be. How insensitive and authoritarian the IHF management turned out to be. The decision to sack Kaushik and six members of the Asian Games gold medal winning team reflects the moral and ethical degradation of the people who manage Indian hockey.
The disgust and disbelief with which the sporting community received the sacking of Kaushik and the six outstanding players was evident in the reams and reams of articles and comments that were articulated in the Indian press.
To retain one's place as a player or coach in any team in India, one must be prepared to be subservient, servile and submissive towards the officials. And Kaushik refused to kowtow to the officials of the federation. He did not tolerate the IHF's interference in the sphere of team selection and technical matters.
In India, we specialise in the art of humiliating the few people who are able to deliver world class performances. Our officials have this sadistic pleasure in crushing the self-esteem of our performers, be they players or coaches.
Till this is stopped, we will continue to have endless debates on why as a country, India is unable to achieve sporting excellence."
6-Time World Billiards Champion Geet Sethi
"The whole decision of 'resting' the six seniors has been done in an improper manner. How can it be done without taking the concerned players into confidence? After all, they are veteran players, and had played a major role in winning the Asian Games gold medal after 32 years.
I have no idea how this new set of probables has been selected. Nobody bothered to discuss anything with me. The whole episode hurts and I will resign from the Selection Committee.
What is the idea in bringing Bhaskaran back? Kaushik needs to be persisted with. He needs no rest, he has been coach for only five months. Frequent changes of the coach is not good for the team."
Olympian Ashok Kumar
he decision to rest six senior players, including the two heroes of the Asiad victory, skipper Dhanraj Pillai and goalkeeper Ashish Ballal, defies the canons of logic. If anything, it is dictated by factors unrelated to form, skill or even to an analytical reasoning.
Whatever the IHF's defence in keeping the six seniors out of the India-Pakistan series, this act is ungrateful to the set of players who have put Indian hockey back on the rails.
The record of player-administration relationships in recent years has been anything but exemplary. 'Resting' is an avenue open to the IHF to keep out those who raise inconvenient issues like players' rights, payments and other benefits.
Even assuming that goalkeeper Subbaiah was not tested in Bangkok, and that Mukesh Kumar and Sabu Varkey may not have been in splendid shape in Bangkok, on what count can the Asiad's highest scorer, Dhanraj Pillai, or the man who saved the country's honour in the tie-breaker, Ashish Ballal, or the consistent Sandeep Somesh, be ignored?
Horrendous is the treatment meted out to Maharaj Krishan Kaushik. His predecessors Cedric and Bhaskaran were dumped because under them the country reached the nadir in the Olympics and World Cup respectively. But Kaushik has shown results, which none of the theoreticians who preceded him had accomplished. Should he too face persecution? How is Bhaskaran acceptable today, when his statements against the same set of players were overlooked after the Utrecht World Cup?
The seniors were to be taught a lesson for making demands. The remaining players were to be warned against raising inconvenient questions. That simply is the message behind the rest and recouperation concept - for achieving the IHF's end through an acceptable, but deceptive, framing of phrases.
This is effectively the end of the road for the victorious six and the coach, whose labour of love produced a golden moment to obliterate 32 years of darkness.
Hockey Correspondent S. Thyagarajan (January 12, 1999)
Arjuna Puraskar Winner Kaushik Unceremoniously Sacked by Gill