Men’s hockey team results ‘unacceptable’, says IOA chief Narinder Batra, asks Hockey India to explain

AgenciesUpdated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 03:59 PM IST
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India Men's Hockey Team | Photo: PTI

IOA President Narinder Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation, on Tuesday termed the Indian men's hockey team's performance in recent tournaments as "unacceptable" and asked the national federation to explain the reasons behind it.

In a strongly-worded communication to Hockey India (HI) President Gyanendro Ningombam, Batra said he has serious concerns about the team's performance after the historic bronze in Tokyo Olympics last year.

He also indicated that the team was being mismanaged but did not specify how.

"I have serious concerns about the way the Indian men's hockey team has performed after the Tokyo bronze medal. In Bangladesh and now in South Africa. Blaming the players ... is not ultimate and only truth for me," Batra said in the message, also marked to HI Secretary General Rajinder Singh and CEO Elena Norman.

The Indian team has been inconsistent after scripting history in the Tokyo Games in August last year, where it won a bronze after 41 years.

The team could not defend the Asian Champions Trophy title in December last year and then lost to lower-ranked France in a FIH Pro League match in South Africa last week.

"My observations are much more than that. I would like to have yout views. The way the team is performing is not at all acceptable and please see where the problems are at all levels," Batra said.

Batra wrote the letter to HI in his capacity as IOA chief.

"I will not accept Team India to be mishandled and mismanaged, such incompetence will have to make way. Please meet me at the earliest with your findings," he said.

In the four FIH Pro League games in South Africa this month, India won three and lost one. The team beat South Africa twice with identical 10-2 margins.

But what might have raised concerns for Batra was the 2-5 defeat to France in the second-leg tie on Saturday after beating the same side 5-0 in their first match of the South Africa sojourn.

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