While the Indian national hockey team begins their road to Tokyo 2020, all eyes will be on Graham Reid as he kick-starts his tenure as head coach. The 55-year-old was handed over the reins last month as a replacement for Harendra Singh and will be expected to fix the cracks that are all too apparent in the side.
Given his success as a player and as a manger, Reid is largely expected to turn this Indian side into world beaters in a few years’ time. The Australian’s first coaching stint was with his country’s national team where he was appointed as an assistant coach in 2009. After serving as the right-hand man to the legendary Ric Charlseworth for five years, Reid was later promoted to the position of head coach and would go on to enjoy plenty of success with the team. Amongst the numerous accolades achieved, the 2012 Champions Trophy stands as his crowning glory. He also ensured that the Australians remained the best team on the land as they regained their number 1 spot from Germany in 2013.
Reid’s first order of proceeding as head coach will be managing the side for the Australia Tour, starting on May 10th. Reid has named an 18-member squad, comprising of youth as well as experienced players, most notably Rupinder Singh and debutant Jaskaran Singh. While the Indian team has comprised of largely youth players of late, the decision by Reid to bring back more experience in the squad, suggests that he could be willing to change things up in search of more stability and consistency within the squad.
Hockey India on 30th April announced the Men's Hockey Team's 18-man squad for the Australian Tour starting from 10th May, 2019 in Perth. Details: https://t.co/FFIZPubpJH#IndiaKaGame pic.twitter.com/DlNKFdRRt1
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) April 30, 2019
In an official press release from Hockey India, Reid mentioned, “This tour will provide me with a great chance to get to know this group of players. It comprises a well-balanced mix, including some younger players, a debutant and a player coming back from long-term injury. To be able to play four matches against a world class opposition, including a match against club Western Australia Thundersticks; will be a great opportunity to test our players under pressure. It provides the ideal preparation for FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 in June.”
While the Australia tour might prove a daunting first task for Reid, it will give him opportunity to identify the cracks within the squad and establish a proper relationship with the players ahead of the all-important FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final in Bhubaneswar in June.
The journey ahead for Reid and co. will undoubtedly be a long one, filled with bumps and roadblocks along the way. But a strong performance at the Hockey Series final could very build a strong foundation for the team to reach greater heights within the next few years.
Written by: Nithin John