Ford hopes for turnaround

Hockey Champions Trophy

This May was one of the painful periods in Australian hockey striker Russell Ford’s life. Having missed the 2010 World Cup bus, he appeared well on course to making the flight to The Hague to win one of the two major titles that had eluded him.

Having impressed then coach Ric Charlesworth who brought him back into the reckoning, Ford, a two-time Champions Trophy winner, was forced to cancel his tickets to the Netherlands after tearing his calf muscle.

“It was a pretty tough time as the injury happened at the last minute,” the 31-year-old said after a practice game against Argentina here at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday, ahead of the Champions Trophy starting on Saturday.

“But, you know, injuries are part and parcel of any sport. There was another guy who got injured at the same time and I had someone to share the pain with. We were, however, very happy for the guys who replaced us and went all the way in defending the title. It was nice watching from the sidelines.”

Entering the twilight of his career, Ford, nicknamed Rusty, is now one of the seniormost members of the Kookaburras, who have chosen to blood some youngsters in a bid to get them ready for the 2016 Olympics.

Elder statesman

“You quickly become one of the veterans of the team! It comes upon you all of a sudden. I try not to do things very differently. I help out the younger guys whenever I can by giving tips etc. I think it is important you enjoy the game and show them how you have gone about the business in a very effective manner.”

Although the Australians are gunning for an unprecedented sixth straight Champions Trophy and a whopping 14th overall, things appears really difficult for the reigning world champions. Super coach Charlesworth has made way for Graham Reid since the triumph at The Hague and the team is struggling to cope with transition, having lost the series 1-3 to India last month.

“We have got a new coach but he has been part of the group for the last 6-7 years. There are minor changes here and there but most things remain the same. Even if we didn’t change the coaches, we would definitely be making some changes because if you don’t then people will go past you.

“The transition has been good. Although the young guys haven’t played too many matches, they’ve been involved in the national training camps for a while and are ready to take the next step.”

“We are here to play our best, improve every game and win the tournament. It’s no different from any other event,” he signed off.

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