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Our basics are weak: Rasquinha
February 17, 2005 19:34 IST
In the last two years, Viren Rasquinha has progressed from a talented youngster to the country's best mid-fielder, and even went on to lead India in some matches in the bilateral series against Pakistan in the absence of an injured Dilip Tirkey.
A facilitator on the field, his presence has added a vital edge to Indian hockey, which is trying to strike a balance between solidity in defence and a volatile forward line.
The 24-year-old Mumbai ace was also captain of the Maratha Warriors in the recently-concluded Premier Hockey League. His consistent performances and boyish charm has won hearts of hockey lovers all round the country.
Rasquinha, took time out from the hockey field to chat with the fans. The transcript of Rasquinha's chat on rediff.com on Thursday.
aashish : I really enjoyed the recent PHL. Good to see such hype and enthusiasm for hockey.
Viren Rasquinha : It was excellent that all the matches were live on TV and there were so many people backing their teams. It has created a sort of a regional rivalry, which is good for domestic hockey.
Karthik : Hi Viren , Wanted to know if Indians should play European Style hockey to be back on top ?
Viren Rasquinha : I think we should play to our strengths but at the same time the good points of the Europeans- like solid defense and quick releasing of the ball should be inculcated.
Anish : Hi Viren really enjoyed the recent PHL.
Viren Rasquinha : So did I. It was a good experience for us to play a domestic league which was higly competitive, well organised and backed by quality television coverage.
chaitan : Hi Viren! I had met Adrian on the bus one day, when he was going to banglore from mumbai, please convey my good wishes to him.
Viren Rasquinha : Definitely Chaitan
Kishore : Viren, When are you getting married?
Viren Rasquinha : That is light years away.
soccer : dude, its so good to see hockey promoter...do you think the inaugural PHL was a success?
Viren Rasquinha : I think it was a big success. As I said before, there was quality hockey, top players playing, competitive matches, excellent TV coverage and good commmentary to make it fun to watch.
Karthik : Why do we Indians choke in the dying moments of a game ,we have lost many matches in the last 5-10 mins , is it psychological or is it because our players get tired?
Viren Rasquinha : It is probably a bit of both. I think the players have to start believing in themselves that during the final stages of the match we can win close encounters. As for the fitness part, its upto the individual players to maintain themselves in absolute peak shape.
Rahil : Viren, do think the teams were evenly balanced in the PHL?
Viren Rasquinha : Ya very much. Even Chennai which finished last beat Hyderabad and Bangalore, which shows that every team was capable of beating the other. All the games in Tier I were very competitive.
aashish : In the last Olympics and tournaments after that, the players were making silly mistakes like forgetting the basics of trapping the ball whereas the other teams, no matter how hard the hit is, the ball just sticks to their stick, whats the problem with our players. Your comments. Also our players seem to indulge into driblling more often than not and forget that 10 other players are also there in the team to help them score.
Viren Rasquinha : Our basics are definitely a bit weak as compared to the top hockey playing nations. That's probably down to the fact that we do not have too many turf grounds in India and we get the chance to regularly hone our skills on turf only once we reach the Indian team level.The over dribbling is something we should avoid. I think we must realise that the ball travels faster than the man running with the ball. At the same time we should not forget our skillful hockey, it just the matter of using our skills at the right time.
Kishore : Viren, How is Jugraj doing? How is his Drag Flick? Is it as sharp as it was before?
Viren Rasquinha : Jugraj is doing fine. Good that he is back on the pitch. He played Tier II i the PHL but we have to give him some time before he is back to top level of fitness. I think his drag flick is not the same as it was before the accident but like I said he needs time and all our support to get back his main weapon.
anna : so you have left indian oil nagar, noida
Viren Rasquinha : How do you know that I stay in Indian Oil colony in Noida? Yes, whenever I come to Delhi I still stay there.
aman : You are one of my best Indian Hockey player (others are Dilip Tirkey and Harpal Singh). Who is ur role model in Indian hockey as well as World hockey?
Viren Rasquinha : I grew up watching Dhanraj, Mukesh Kumar, Sabbu and Anil Aldrin. These were my heroes growing up. Right now Dilip is my favourite player in world hockey.
aman : How much effective Non Indian Subcontinenet players like Escarre in PHL.
Viren Rasquinha : Escarre found it difficult initially because Indian hockey is different to the style of hockey he plays. But to his credit he adjusted well and had very good last two games. Also, I do hope they get top European and Australian players in the PHL next year.
arup : hi viren, i work with the same organization as your brother Pravin. Therefore I keep a special eye on you! I am a big fan of yours. Do you see yourself as the next captain f the Indian team ?
Viren Rasquinha : Oh its cool you work with Pravin. Which place do you work in?
The captaincy is really not up to me. I'll just concentrate on playing well. I think Dilip is doing a fine job right now and I hope he continues for a few years.
Kishore : Viren, do you the think the four quarter format should be implemented in International Hockey also?
Viren Rasquinha : I think it still needs to be experimented a litle bit more in top quality domestic leagues before we get it implemented at international level.
ChimpuSingh : Hi Viren, Are you ok with the new rules in the PHL or do you suggest any changes?
Viren Rasquinha : I think the four quarter rule was good. As regards the time outs the one minute time outs are fine, two minute time outs are a bit too much. But this was just the first year and rules can be fine tuned in the next edition. Also the seven players in the second half of extra time is too tiring.
chaitan : Viren wishing you and Adrian all the very best in all that you do whether in your professional life or personal life, my best wishes to you, coz i find you two extremly down to earth despite having been successful. God bless you both. would like to meet you in person sometime or the other.byeee
Viren Rasquinha : Thank you very much. Come to BHA sometime when we are playing, we'll meet up there.
Rajesh : Is hockey a feasible sport... financially. My son is very interested but I want him to play cricket.
Viren Rasquinha : With the PHL coming up financially things have improved for the top hockey players. So in the years to come when it gets established I'm sure the financial gains will be even better. Besides all the India team players have good jobs but its important for the gains to filter to the grass root level. Please encourage your kid to play hockey as well.
Abhijeet : How good would you say the Indian team is? We end up finishing fifth or sixth in every major tournament we play...
Viren Rasquinha : I think the Indian team is good enough to get close to a medal in a major tournament. Its just a matter of being consistent and playing to our potential and being strong in our minds.
aashish : PHL provided good opportunity to see players like Wasim and Sohail more closely and it was really a great experience seeing them play. Wasim is cool
Viren Rasquinha : Ya I think Wasim and Sohail are two of the best players in the world and it was a pleasure playing with them in the PHL.
arup : Hi Viren, PHL was amazing. Inspite of that it didn't get major headlines in the media. What do you think was the reason ?
Viren Rasquinha : I think it got very good coverage in the electronic media but probably not as much in the print media because the matches were getting over very late. I think next year they are planning to have the starting time of matches at 7 pm to facilitate better print media coverage.
Faisal : How would best describe your role in the team? Are you a sweeper like Makelele, operating just in front of the defenders for most of the time?
Viren Rasquinha : Ya thats basically my role and I am trying to improve my attacking play as well in order to contribute more to the team.
Siddhart : Hi Viren, keep fighting!
Viren Rasquinha : Ya I'll do that. I am not as talented as Dhanraj and Dilip so probably I'll have to keep fighting very hard to maintain my place in the side.
companeroes : Viren, which was the first team u ever played for ? Was it the Blue Jays ???? I heard babaza was the captian of that team, is it true ?
Viren Rasquinha : Ya I remember the Blue Jays boys club. BJBC. Bapsia was the captain. Who's this by the way? You brought back good memories.
SachinFan : How was it leading Maratha Warriors in the PHL?
Viren Rasquinha : Ya it was lot of fun and a great experience for me.
Harish : Viren, what kinda music are you into... going for the Mark Knopfler concert?
Viren Rasquinha : I listen to a lot of Ronan Keating, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi.
urfi : hi viren.. is sandeep singh is effective like sohail
Viren Rasquinha : Ya Sandeep is the most talented drag flicker in the country right now and he must be given encouragement. I'm sure he will win a lot of matches for India in the future.
bharath : Viren,Has the launch of PHL really made hockey professional in INDIA? I do not feel so. The IHF and all players need a change in attitude... Only then we will become professional
Viren Rasquinha : To be fully professional it will take a lot of time. Things will not change overnight. What we got to do is build up the PHL and i am sure things will improve in the years to come.
Sachin_Fan : Don't you think European players should be signed in PHF. Their experience can help our players.
Viren Rasquinha : I think the top Dutch, German and Spanish players should defintely be signed up. I am sure we will learn a lot from them
chinni : is PHL will be helpful in bringing craze about hockey in India just like cricket
Viren Rasquinha : PHL is a good start and lets hope that it develops a huge fan following.
DeepakSharma1977 : Thank god PHL initiated. and i wish luck to the hockey viewer and lovers.......do u think still hidden talent in this country can be brought to picture - Salute to efforts of dhanraj and ashish
Viren Rasquinha : There are so many talented players all over the country. for eg, players like Johnson Ekka and Avataar Singh of the Hyderabad team were not really heard of before the PHL but they came good.
krishna : How can we promote hockey at junior level in Mumbai?
Viren Rasquinha : I think hockey is pretty good at school level in Mumbai. But after that there are no avenues for kids to continue playing because college and university hockey is neglected. So hopefully university hockey will be better promoted and then players can go on to play for big clubs. Also we definitely need another astro turf ground in Mumbai. Also things like rink hockey is really good to generate interest among the people because its fast and exciting.
pachak : If u are asked for acting will u accept that?
Viren Rasquinha : Only if I get to act with Govinda.