India should make it, says Ric

The aura is long gone and recent performances have been inconsistent but Indian hockey’s former technical adviser Ric Charlesworth, who had a controversial stint with the team, still expects his former wards to qualify for London Olympics during the qualifiers starting here on Saturday.

“India still has some very exciting players and can play some fabulous hockey but perhaps they are not consistent enough and they haven’t planned well enough for a long time,” the Australian said in an e-mail interview.

“I do think it can be turned around. If you mean their aura was their dominance then obviously that no longer exists. When I first played, to beat India was exceptional and rare... now it is expected,” he added.

Charlesworth had a controversy-ridden tenure with the Indian hockey team and walked out of the job after a major stand-off with the administrators within ten months of joining in 2008.

The legendary former player is currently in charge of the Australian team, which won the 2009 and 2010 Champions Trophy and the 2010 World Cup and the Commonwealth Games gold medal that same year under his guidance.

Talking about India’s chances at the qualifiers, Charlesworth said the hosts should have it easy against oppositions who are at best capable of causing nothing more than an upset or two.

“I expect India to qualify as they have easily the easiest path... Canada, Poland and France can cause an upset but against India at home they do not have enough weapons,” Charlesworth said.

Charlesworth was technical adviser of the team when India lost to Great Britain at Santiago and failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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