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September 25, 2000
India need to be consistent: Aggiss
Jaideep Singh in Sydney
Former Australian coach Richard Aggiss feels the Asian style of hockey could again become fashionable if the results in the current Olympic Games turn out to be good for the Asian teams.
"The Asian style of hockey is still very, very relevant," Aggiss told rediff.com. "It's great to watch and I must admit I love watching it; count me among its big fans.
"There are lots of hockey lovers who would travel miles to see the two subcontinental teams at their best. I hope these countries stay among the top so that the Asian flavour embellishers world hockey."
Aggiss said India were looking very good as they beat Argentina and drew with Australia, but then gave a listless display against South Korea.
What's surprising him is how their level of their game can fluctuate so drastically.
"Before the game against South Korea, India were looking very good. I thought they would get the grip on South Korea," he said. "I can't figure out how on earth did they suddenly forget things they were doing so well. Seems the Indian players did not get out of the bed early enough - - - they just weren't there in the match.
"Such a defeat can be very discomforting. But India did well to come out of it quickly to stay on course for a place in the semifinals.
"A lot depended on their resolve to come back from the low point of losing to South Korea and they did well to reproduce their earlier form but it was nowhere near what they did in the earlier match against Australia."
said irrespective of the Asian or European style of hockey, the boys still need to be consistent to produce results that reflect on the team's ability.
"If six players are not handling the ball properly, you can play any style of hockey and the result will be the same," he said.
"In one match India seems to be playing as a unit. Then suddenly half the team starts mishandling the ball and the game's gone…it happens very quickly in modern hockey."
feels Pakistan too are playing exceptionally well but their form is also having wild swings.
"On the form they showed early on, so far they should have easily broken into the top echelons once again. But with three draws from four games Pakistan have built additional pressure on themselves," he said.
Pakistan needs to defeat reigning Olympic and World Cup champions Holland in the last group match to make the semi-finals. Anything less than that will leave Pakistan out of the semi-final line-up.
"Against England where they got eight goals, Pakistan's game was simply breathtaking," he said.
"Now that Pakistan also has a very good penalty-corner taker after long, their performance gets a big boost.
"Look at Korea, they're playing very fast and impressive hockey and I'm not just talking about the match against India. Having sensed a place in the semi-finals for the first time Korea too could produce a few more surprises."
It bodes well for the game, feels Aggiss, that Asia has again produced such strong teams.
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